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Europe

Bronislaw Komorowski sworn in as president

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-06

Bronislaw Komorowski was sworn in as Poland's new president on Friday, having emerged victorious in snap elections forced after former president Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash on April 10.

AFP - Bronislaw Komorowski was sworn in Friday as Poland's new president after a snap election forced by the air crash death of Lech Kaczynski, but his defeated rival snubbed the official ceremony.
  
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the bereaved identical twin of the late president, was not in parliament for the inauguration, with a party spokesman suggesting the president's camp had insulted his dead brother's memory during the campaign.
  
In his inaugural address, the free-market liberal Komorowski vowed to support Poland's government in developing ties within the European Union and NATO, with strategic partner the United States as well as with Russia.
  
"We want to reinforce, inspire and make the Old Continent (Europe) more dynamic," the 58-year-old told both houses of parliament as he was sworn in as as Poland's fourth democratically-elected president.
  
Komorowski named Brussels, Paris and Berlin as the destinations for his first official foreign visits.
  
Asked why his rival Kaczynski stayed away, a spokesman for his conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party told AFP: "Civic Platform politicans made brutal verbal attacks on president Lech Kaczynski when he was alive and some continue to do so even after his death."
  
"In my opinion, this is why Jaroslaw Kaczynski did not attend today's inauguration," Mariusz Blaszczak told AFP.
  
Solidarity legend Lech Walesa, Poland's first democratically-elected president after the collapse of communism, did attend his swearing-in however, along with former president Aleksander Kwasniewski.
  
A liberal with political roots in the governing Civic Platform (PO) party of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Komorowski won the July 4 second round of the snap presidential election scoring 53.01 percent of the vote.
  
Parliamentarians held a minute's silence to honour the victims of the April 10 air crash which claimed Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 other Polish dignitaries including top military brass and the central bank governor.
  
They were killed when their presidential jet crashed in bad weather in western Russia en route to ceremonies marking a WWII Soviet massacre of Polish officers.
  
Komorowski was later to attend a high mass at Warsaw's St. John's cathedral.
  
A strident anti-communist in his youth and committed Solidarity member Komorowski is a consensus politician known for gravitas.
  
A historian by training and a former teacher, Komorowski has won seats in six successive parliamentary elections since 1991.
  
Following the 1989 demise of communism in Poland, Komorowski was deputy defence minister in three governments in the 1990s, before taking the helm of the ministry in 2000 and 2001.
  
In 2007, after Civic Platform trounced the conservative Law and Justice party, he became speaker of parliament -- a post that meant he became interim president after Kaczynski was killed.
  
He was born on June 4, 1952 in Oborniki Slaskie, southern Poland, to parents who had been expelled from what is now Lithuania by Soviet forces after World War II.
  
A married father of five, Komorowski has aristocratic roots and even a link to the Belgian royal family.

Date created : 2010-08-06

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