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Poland: Cabinet reshuffled after ministers win EU seats

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels to haggle over who should lead the 28-nation bloc's key institutions for the next five years after weekend elections shook up Europe's political landscape. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president swore in several new Cabinet members on Tuesday, most of them replacements for ministers who were elected to the European Union legislature.

The country’s right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice, fared extremely well in last month’s European Parliament elections. Its candidates won 27 seats, among them Poland’s education and interior ministers.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the appointments a “velvet” government reconstruction, given that it did not result from conflict or dismissals.

However, Finance Minister Teresa Czerwinska was replaced as part of the reshuffle. She did not run for a European Parliament post, but was reportedly skeptical of new social spending programs the government has promised to introduce this year.

The programs include extending cash bonuses for families with children, a one-time extra monthly pension payment for retirees and cash bonuses for farmers with cows and pigs.

The promises have boosted the popularity of ruling party ahead of Poland’s national election in the fall.

Former Czerwinska deputy Marian Banas, the head of the country’s tax administration, was named as the new finance minister.

Michal Szuldrzynski, a prominent commentator for the Rzeczpospolita daily, wrote in a commentary Tuesday that he thinks the reshuffled Cabinet “is meant to be a tool helping Law and Justice in the election campaign.”

Those departing include Beata Szydlo, a former prime minister who recently held the job of deputy prime minister, as well as Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski and Education Minister Anna Zalewska.

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This story has been corrected to show the finance minister’s former deputy was appointed as her replacement, not dismissed with her. With AP Photos.

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