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Text of report by Polish weekly Newsweek Polska on 1 February
[Commentary by Piotr Smilowicz, Grzegorz Indulski and Andrzej Stankiewicz: "Who Is Next?"]
By dismissing the justice minister, the prime minister raised political standards. But he should be careful, because in politics this weapon is an exceptionally double-edged sword.
Tuesday, 20 January at 0900. Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski enters [Prime Minister] Donald Tusk's office. The prime minister is smiling and joking. At some point, he says lightly: "In such a situation as the one following [convicted criminal] Robert Pazik's death, the justice minister should resign." "So I am resigning," Cwiakalski responds with a smile. Tusk suddenly becomes serious. "I accept the resignation," he says.
Cwiakalski's face shows complete surprise. And the prime minister adds that he expects Deputy [Justice] Minister Marian Cichosz, who is responsible for the penitentiary system, and State Prosecutor Marek Staszak to resign, too. The fate of the chief of the penitentiary system and the head of the penitentiary in Plock was already a foregone conclusion. The whole of the conversation took 11 minutes. Who knows whether in the final analysis these minutes were - or will be - more fraught with consequences than any other moment in Tusk's career as prime minister.
The justice minister's spectacular resignation following another revelation in the scandal around kidnapping and killing Krzysztof Olewnik [son of a businessman from Plock] has been the most serious crisis in the Donald Tusk government ever since the cabinet was formed. At the same time, it proves the prime minister's political talent, or at least his talent for public relations. Tusk realized that the third suicide among Olewnik's …