Poland's Tusk sworn in as new prime minister

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WARSAW, Nov 16 (Reuters) Polish President Lech Kaczynski swore in a new centre-right led government today that aims to repair relations with EU partners and speed up reforms to liberalise the ex-communist country's economy.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk replaces the president's twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, whose nationalist and socially conservative Law and Justice party was defeated in a parliamentary election last month.

The coalition between Tusk's Civic Platform party and the centrist Peasants' Party must win a vote of confidence in parliament. The vote, which will most likely take place on November 23, is seen as a formality because the two parties have the required majority in parliament.

''This is a government of good and decent people,'' Tusk said during the ceremony. ''I strongly believe that together we can make the promises we have made before the election come true.'' The Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party has ruled for two years of fast economic growth but scandals and infighting led to a snap election and the defeat of their conservative party.

Lech Kaczynski, who has not hidden his dissatisfaction with the result of the election, once again praised his brother's outgoing government during the swearing-in ceremony.

''The past two years were a success for the country ... in economy and in foreign policy,'' the president said. ''I hope the new government will build an even stronger position for Poland.'' Peasants' Party leader Waldemar Pawlak will become deputy prime minister and economy minister in the new cabinet and Jacek Rostowski, an independent economist in favour of quick euro adoption, will be the new finance minister.

Tusk pledges to accelerate economic reforms needed to bring Poland into the euro zone and improve relations with key international partners, which had been strained under the Kaczynskis' rule.

Analysts say the Civic Platform may face an uphill struggle to achieve many of its goals because the president could veto some of its crucial laws.

Kaczynski has already threatened to use his veto power to stop ''liberal'' legislation. He defeated Tusk in the 2005 presidential election after labelling his rival as a liberal who would cater only to the rich.

Foreign affairs will also be a difficult area for cooperation between the two political opponents. The president, who has prerogatives in foreign policy, has voiced his opposition to the nomination of Radek Sikorski as new foreign minister.

The pro-EU Sikorski has served as defence minister in Kaczynski's cabinet but was sacked after rows with the prime minister and the president.

Tusk and the president also differ on issues such as the presence of Polish troops in Iraq and the adoption of the EU charter of fundamental rights.


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