Nowak takes transport post


Slawomir Nowak. Still from election video.

(Click image to see video.) (PL)

In his post-election cabinet reshuffle Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, has chosen Slawomir Nowak to head up the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Affairs (formerly called the Ministry of Infrastructure). Because Poland holds the Presidency of the EU, the reshuffle had been postponed for a month so as not to disturb business with other EU members. Tusk’s new cabinet emphasises continuity in Poland’s international relations, and enhances the reputations of the Ministers responsible for Poland’s relations with the outside world.

Oxford-educated, Radek Sikorski retains the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and London School of Economics graduate, Jacek Rostocki, keeps control of the Finance Ministry. Other Ministers that retain their posts are: the Minister of Defence, Tomasz Siemioniak; the Minister of Economic Affairs, Waldemar Pawlak; the Minister of Regional Development, Elzbieta Bienkowska (the post includes responsibility for administering EU funds); the Minister of Agriculture, Marek Sawicki; the Minister of Higher Education, Barbara Kudrycka; and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski (the person ultimately responsible for Poland’s railway heritage).

Newcomers to their portfolios are: Michal Boni, Minister of Administration and Digitalisation (split off from the Ministry of Internal Affairs); Jaroslaw Gowin, Minister of Justice; Jacek Cichocki, Minister of Internal Affairs; Mikolaj Budzanowski, Treasury Minister; Marcin Korolec, Minister of Environment; Bartosz Arlukowicz, Minister of Health; Wladyslaw Kamysz-Kosiniak, Minister of Labour; Krystyna Szumilas, Minister of Education; Joanna Mucha, the Minister of Sport and Tourism (with ‘dotted line’ responsibility for Poland’s tourist railways); and Tomasz Arabski, Head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery and Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Slawomir Nowak was born in Gdansk in 1974. He studied at the University of Gdansk and Gdynia Martime University. At the age of 20, while still a student, he started his own advertising business. He was also briefly the chairman of Radio Gdansk. He entered politics in 1993 as a member of the Liberal Democratic Congress which was led by Donald Tusk. Political consolidations and fractions led Nowak in turn to membership of  the Democratic Union (UD), the Freedom Union (UW) and finally, in 2001, the Civic Platform (PO), the party that retains his affiliation to this day.

Nowak has acquired a reputation as a go-getter. In 2004, he became a MEP. In 2007, he was elected a member of Poland’s lower legislative chamber, the Sejm, becoming at the same time a Secretary of State in the Chancellery and the head of the Prime Minister’s political cabinet. Between 2009 and 2010, he was head of the PO’s parliamentary party. In 2010, he became head of the PO’s Pomorze region and during the presidential elections, held later that year, he was head of the winning candidate’s, Bronislaw Komorski’s, campaign team. He was subsequently, appointed Secretary of State in the President’s Chancellery with responsibility for parliamentary and governmental relations, automatically loosing his parliamentary seat  In the October 2011 elections, he was again elected to the Sejm.

In his election video, Nowak cites infrastructure development as one of his three priorities as an MP. Unlike most of his parliamentary colleagues, as Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Affairs, he will actually be in a position where he can do something about his promise.

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