Poland profile - Leaders

  • 26 May 2015
  • From the section Europe

President (outgoing): Bronislaw Komorowski

Polish President Komorowski (right) with Prime Minister Kopacz
President Komorowski (right) with Prime Minister Kopacz

Bronislaw Komorowski, the speaker of parliament, became acting president on the death of President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in April 2010. He defeated Mr Kaczynski's twin brother and former prime minister, Jaroslaw, in the July presidential election.

A leading figure in the centre-right Civic Platform party, Mr Komorowski served in several post-Communist governments since 1989, including a term as defence minister in 2000-2001.

He became speaker in 2007, and Civic Platform adopted him as its candidate for the presidential elections due in the autumn of 2010. These were brought forward to June-July on the death of President Kaczynski.

Born in 1952 and an historian by profession, Mr Komorowski was active in the anti-Communist civil rights movement from the 1970s.

He failed to win a second term at the May 2015 elections, losing to Andrzej Duda of Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice Party.

Polish political observers attributed his unexpected defeat to public dissatisfaction with the Civic Platform's failure to boost employment and wages in line with continuing economic growth, and its raising of the retirement age.

When he takes office in August, President-elect Duda will have to cooperate with the more pro-European-Union government of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, at least until parliamentary elections in November.

Prime minister: Ewa Kopacz

Ewa Kopacz took over as head of government in September 2014, replacing Donald Tusk, who resigned to become European Council president.

President Bronislaw Komorowski said that one of the tasks facing the new government would be to prepare Poland for the debate on strengthening its place in an integrating Europe.

Poland is obliged to join the single currency bloc as part of its 2004 European Union entry deal but has dragged its feet on the move, which would require it to amend its constitution.


Kopacz, previously speaker of parliament, was hand-picked by Mr Tusk to take over from him after he was appointed European Council president.

The governing coalition led by Mr Tusk won a decisive victory in the October 2011 parliamentary election, putting him on course to serve a second term as prime minister.

It was the first time an incumbent government was returned to office for another term since the reintroduction of democracy in 1989. Analysts said the result was a sign of Poland's growing political stability after two decades of fractious politics.

Mr Tusk became PM when he formed a coalition between his centre-right Civic Platform and the centrist Peasants Party after the parliamentary elections of October 2007.

Mr Tusk's government pursued a policy of close cooperation with the European Union. It also sought to use EU funds modernise Poland and privatise state enterprises.