Kaczynski joins new Polish Cabinet as deputy prime minister

Cover Image
Photo credit The leader of the Polish ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski,center, speaks to reporters in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. The three parties in Poland's conservative coalition government signed a new coalition agreement on Saturday, putting aside disagreements. But they gave no details, leaving lingering uncertainty about how the Cabinet will look in practice after an expected reshuffle.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented a reshuffled Cabinet on Wednesday that formally brings in party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski as a deputy prime minister as well as a new education minister who has said LGBT people are “not equal” to others.

Kaczynski, the behind-the-scenes strategist of the government since the party won power in 2015, will be a deputy prime minister under Morawiecki. He will have supervision authority over the defense, justice and interior ministries.

Morawiecki said the presence of Kaczynski, who was a prime minister from 2006-2007, would strengthen the government.

The move has been expected for days as Law and Justice has been in negotiations with two junior coalition partners amid tensions in the governing coalition. It's an awkward arrangement because it leaves Kaczynski subservient to Morawiecki in the government, but still the key powerbroker in the country.

The new minister of education and science is Przemyslaw Czarnek, who angered many people in Poland this summer when he said that LGBT people “are not equal to normal people.”

“Let’s protect ourselves against LGBT ideology and stop listening to idiocy about some human rights or some equality,” Czarnek said then.

Opposition politicians strongly denounced the appointment of Czarnek, which was the most controversial change in Morawiecki's Cabinet.

“Such a man is the minister of national education? It’s just a scandal and a disgrace,” said Piotr Zgorzelski, a lawmaker with the centrist Polish People's Party. He said national education should stand for tolerance, but "Mr. Czarnek became famous for his words about dehumanizing other people, about stigmatizing sexual minorities.”

The stated purpose of the government reshuffle has been to reduce the number of ministries to make governance more efficient.