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President Obama to visit Poland soon?

KRAKOW TOURS – US president Barack Obama is to take part in the summit of Central and East European countries to be held in Warsaw at the end of April.

The information comes from Foreign Ministry sources.

Reacting to the unofficial news, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told Polish Radio that “from our point of view the US is, and shall be, [Poland’s] most important ally.”

“We understand this is not always reciprocal, bearing in mind the force it represents. However, this would testify to the gravity of Polish-US relations. Let’s not look for different contexts. This is good news and I hope it will materialise,” PM Tusk added.

The information was first revealed by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper on its website, while Polish Radio received confirmation from the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pope John Paul II on ‘fast track’ to Sainthood

KRAKOW TOURS – The process leading to sainthood for late Polish pope John Paul II has recently been accelerated, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said on Saturday after talks with Pope Benedict XVI.

“We expressed our hope for a continuation of the process and the latest signals show that this process has been recently speeded up,” Komorowski told reporters after the talks on the 32nd anniversary of John Paul II’s election.

Komorowski also attended a mass in honour of John Paul II in the Vatican.

Italian daily Il Giornale this week reported that initial medical confirmation of John Paul II’s first miracle — a vital step towards beatification and eventual canonisation — could come “in the next few weeks.”

A spokesman for the Vatican declined to comment on the report.

There had been speculation in Poland earlier this year that Saturday’s anniversary could see the beatification of John Paul II — the first step toward formal recognition as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

The procedure leading up to sainthood usually takes many years.

Benedict also congratulated Komorowski ahead of the canonisation of Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest who is to be recognised as saint at a ceremony on Sunday with five others including Australia’s first saint.

“Tomorrow Poland will have a new saint,” Benedict told the president.

Komorowski is set to attend the ceremony on Sunday on the square in front of Saint Peter’s basilica where around 50,000 faithful are expected.

The two leaders also discussed collaboration between church and state “for the common good,” as well as European affairs, the Vatican said.

Komorowski said he also informed Benedict about Poland’s reconciliation with Germany and about the “dialogue to bring about reconciliation with Russia too.”

He said the dialogue with Russia “will be long and difficult but possible and the Holy See is obviously looking on it with favour.”

 

October 17, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Komorowski sworn in as Polish President.

KRAKOW TOURS – Bronislaw Komorowski has been sworn in as Poland’s new president, a month after his election victory.

Mr Komorowski defeated Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of the late President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash in April.

He will be the fourth president since the fall of communism, and wants closer relations with Germany and Russia.

Correspondents say Mr Komorowski is seen as someone who will lead Poland into a period of political stability.

Under the constitution, the president has power of veto and the right to make key nominations. But most executive power rests with the cabinet.

Mr Komorowski took the oath of office in front of MPs in the Polish parliament in the capital, Warsaw.

The 55-year-old father of five, who comes from an aristocratic family, became the fourth president since democracy was restored 20 years ago.

A social conservative, he ran as the candidate of the centre-right governing party, Civic Platform, which supports the free market and is pro-European.

He won July’s run-off election against Mr Kaczynski, the leader of the conservative Law and Justice Party, by a smaller margin than had been expected – 53% to 47%.

Mr Komorowski is unlikely to use his power of veto over legislation very frequently during his five-year term, something his predecessor did.

With a like-minded president and government, Poland appears to be entering a relatively rare period of political stability.

August 6, 2010 Posted by | Events, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poland decides on new President today

KRAKOW TOURS – The people of Poland are voting in a run-off election to determine the country’s next president. Observers say the final result between Bronislaw Komorowski and Jaroslaw Kaczynski could be close.

Mr Komorowski has been acting president since his predecessor, Mr Kaczynski’s twin brother Lech, was killed in a plane crash as he travelled to Russia in April.

Results are expected to be released on Monday.

The election has been dominated by the crash. Poland’s first couple and 94 other people died when their plane came down in Smolensk on 10 April as they flew to attend a memorial ceremony for the World War II Katyn massacre.

The contests pits the business-oriented Bronislaw Komorowski from the ruling centrist Civic Platform against the conservative Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the main opposition Law and Justice party.

Mr Komorowski won 41.5% in the first round and Mr Kaczynski 36.5%. Eight other candidates were eliminated.

Final opinion polls before Sunday’s voting got under way suggested a close call, with floating voters certain to be pivotal.

Komorowski’s support ranged from 45 to 54%, and Kaczynski’s from 42 to 45%, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Komorowski’s supporters see him working well with Prime Minister Donald Tusk in trying to curb fiscal deficit.

Mr Komorowski, 58, said at his rally on Friday: “You have the choice between a politician who harbours resentment and grudges, and the future, with an optimistic vision of Poland.”

Mr Kaczynski’s supporters hope a victory for their candidate would curb cuts in public spending.

He said on Friday: “This election began with a tragedy. I hope it will end with a great success for Poland.”

Mr Kaczynski, 61, served as prime minister but was voted out of office in 2007.

The BBC’s Adam Easton in Warsaw says Mr Kaczynski has tried to present himself as a changed man, prepared to compromise with opponents, in the wake of his own personal loss.

The Polish president has a role in foreign affairs and the power to propose and veto legislation, although policy is set by the prime minister.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton avoided taking sides during her visit to Poland on Saturday.

“Whichever candidate is chosen, the United States will continue to be your friend and partner,” she said.

July 4, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Poles go to the Polls

KRAKOW TOURS – Polish polling stations have opened for a snap presidential election forced by the death of conservative president Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in April.

Among the candidates are the late president’s identical twin as well as the interim president Bronislaw Komorowski, who is ahead in the polls.

Candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he wanted to run for the presidency to safeguard his brother’s legacy after he died in the plane crash in Russia which also killed 95 others including many high-ranking politicians.

But despite his association with the popular former president, reaffirmed by a visit to his tomb on their joint 61st birthday on Friday, surveys have still given his rival Komorowski a five to 18 point lead.

Kaczynski has managed to close the gap with Komorowski in recent weeks, putting both rivals way ahead of the eight other candidates, and threatening the chance of Komorowski securing the 50% majority he needs for a first round victory.

If neither candidate wins the first round vote, a run-off ballot is scheduled for July 4.

Although the election has been branded the strangest in Poland’ post-Communist history, it will define the country’s relations with Europe and Russia.

Kaczynski, a former prime minister, is a Eurosceptic who is known for being deeply conservative and nationalistic while his rival is more liberal. However, some have said that the former president’s death has cast a shadow over the election, causing candidates to tone down their rhetoric.

The late president Lech Kaczynski was expected to have bid for a second term in a race against Komorowski. Kaczynski and his wife Maria were on a presidential jet that crashed in Smolensk, western Russia, on April 10. They were en route to ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of a Soviet WWII massacre of Polish officers in the nearby Katyn forest.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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