PM Beata Szydlo dismissed on Thurs. Treasury Minister Dawid Jackiewicz, who becomes the first casualty of the Law and Justice (PiS) government. Szydlo said that Jackiewicz’s removal was based on the planned liquidation of the Treasury Ministry and the fact Jackiewicz had made all necessary preparations for a move to take place by year-end. The ministry will be run on a temporary basis by Henryk Kowalczyk, the head of the PM’s legislative committee and a close ally.
Szydlo’s stated reasons for Jackiewicz’s dismissal likely do not tell the whole story. The signs began to augur poorly for Jackiewicz over the weekend when he was booted off of the PiS political council. Then at a Tues. government sitting, he was sent away to hold talks with PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who de facto rules Poland. Reports said the PiS leadership was irate at the fact Jackiewicz named too many ‘unacceptable’ people to state-held company boards, angering rivals like Joachim Brudzinski as well as local PiS activists. But comments have also arisen that the massive personnel changeover as PiS-related people are stuffed everywhere has also helped paralyse company actions.
Overall, Jackiewicz’s dismissal means the internal rivalries in the government are starting to take their first scalps. More could be taken soon as the government is rumoured to be ready for a reshuffle, either later in September or sometime going to the one-year anniversary of the government in November. The likely underlying reason behind Jackiewicz’s removal — disputes over personnel appointments — underscores a major weakness of the PiS government. PiS believes only sanctioned personnel can be trusted to run or hold state positions. But the criteria for this is not qualifications but rather loyalty as seen by Kaczynski. With PiS taking over every public or state agency, institution or company it can, this introduces a massive uncertainty into every position, and likely will make the proper functioning of these agency, institutions or companies that much worse. If there were ever a renewed argument for privatisation in Poland, PiS seems to be providing it.