Next Polish PM vows to continue ruling party's reforms


Warsaw (AFP)

Poland's incoming prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday said he would continue with the governing party's reforms, while focussing on strengthening the economy, security and Poland's position abroad.

"The programme that we have been pursuing will continue to be a guide-post for me to better serve the Polish public and Polish families," the ex-banker and finance minister said after he was named premier by President Andrzej Duda.

"Because (this programme) was a kind of lighthouse that shone brightly for us and which I want to shine as brightly as possible in the future so as to strengthen Poland's security, of course also the Polish economy and Poland's position on the world stage," the 49-year-old added at the official ceremony in Warsaw.

Looking to focus more on the economy, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party on Thursday tapped Morawiecki to replace outgoing Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, who tendered her resignation after governing since November 2015.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the country's most powerful politician and the man believed to be calling all the shots, had also been one of the figures tipped to replace Szydlo, who is due to stay on as a deputy prime minister.

Duda on Friday thanked Szydlo for the reforms introduced under her watch -- including a child allowance, a lower retirement age and increased wages -- and wished for a good relationship with the new head of government.

"You are my prime minister and not only am I crossing my fingers for you but I want you to know that I am open for cooperation at any moment," Duda told Morawiecki at the ceremony.

The PiS-controlled parliament could approve Morawiecki's new administration by Tuesday, according to media reports.

Further changes to the government are due in January, senior party officials have said.

For many years Morawiecki was chairman of Bank Zachodni WBK, part of Spain's Santander Group, before joining the PiS government in 2015 and making a name for himself by taking on tax evasion and bolstering the welfare state.

Many of the reforms introduced by the PiS have put it at loggerheads with the EU, including changes to the court system that Brussels views as a threat to the union's democratic values.