Poland: new prime minister pledged 'strong and stable' government

Poland's likely new prime minister pledged Wednesday to build a "strong and stable" center-right government as the two winning parties in the country's election prepared to start coalition talks. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the top economic expert for the Law and Justice party, was nominated for the premiership in a surprise decision Tuesday, the AP reports.

The move appeared aimed at speeding coalition talks with the pro-market Civic Platform, which finished just behind the socially conservative Law and Justice in Sunday's vote. Marcinkiewicz told reporters that he wanted talks on the coalition program to open Thursday, and negotiations on members of the new government to start Oct. 10.

"It is most important now to agree with the Civic Platform on a joint coalition program," Marcinkiewicz said. "First the program, and then choosing the people that will implement it, and everything according to the principle of balance because only that will guarantee success." Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk said his party shared Marcinkiewicz's aim to "arrive at a good government soon."

Marcinkiewicz criticized the 2006 budget draft approved Tuesday by the outgoing left-wing government of Prime Minister Marek Belka. He described it as a "budget of stagnation that lacks means for investment." He said his team would rectify that and would try to trim the budget deficit. Marcinkiewicz also said Wednesday that he hoped to strengthen Poland's position in the EU and indicated that the country would maintain strong relations with the United States. He did not offer details. AM

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