As the world reels
from the tragic
plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, as well as
Poland's top military chiefs and national bank head, Poland must begin
the difficult work of rebuilding. The country of 38 million, the economy
worth $668 billion GDP, and the military of 100,000 standing forces all
require leaders. Here's what's in store for Poland and what it must
- Prime Minister At Helm The BBC Reports, "After an emergency meeting of
ministers, [Prime Minister Donald] Tusk, who runs the day-to-day
business of government, said a week of national mourning had been
declared with two minutes of silence on Sunday at midday. Mr Tusk added:
'The Polish state must function and will function'." The Wall Street
Journal's Gregory White adds, "Polish
Prime Minister Donald Tusk was on his way to Warsaw for an emergency
meeting of the cabinet Saturday. According to the foreign ministry
spokesman, the government will meet in early afternoon local time."
Functions Continue The Associated Press' Victoria Buravchenko
suggests that, outside of the military, the daily work of the state
will go uninterrupted. "The deaths were not expected to directly affect
the functioning of Polish government: Poland's
president is commander in chief of its armed forces but the position's
domestic duties are chiefly symbolic. Most top government ministers were
not aboard the plane."
- What The Constitution Requires
The New York Times' Ellen Barry writes, "Under
Poland’s Constitution, the leader of the lower house of Parliament, now
acting president, has 14 days to announce new elections, which must then
take place within 60 days." That man is Bronislaw
Komorowski. The Wall Street Journal's Gregory White calls him "a key candidate in the
presidential elections that would normally be
scheduled in the autumn."
- Will They Still Join Nuclear Summit?
The Hill's Eric Zimmerman notes,
"Poland is set to participate in Monday's nuclear summit in Washington.
There is no word yet on whether they will withdraw."
Opportunity for Poland-Russia Thaw? Newsweek's Arlyn Gajilan points out
that Kacynski's trip, to the grace site of 20,000 Poles murdered by
Soviet commanders in 1939, marked a unique opportunity. "Polish-Russian relations had been strained for
decades following the massacre, which Russia has never officially
apologized for. But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent
decision to attend the memorial ceremony in the forest near Katyn was
seen as a gesture of reconciliation." Will chances for that
reconciliation be lost?
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