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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » September 3, 2008
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Changes at the Palace
September 3, 2008   
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Anna Fotyga, head of President Lech Kaczyński's Office, unexpectedly resigned Aug. 20 after less than 10 months in office. Fotyga, who began to work at the President's Office in November, was previously the foreign minister in the governments of Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Jarosław Kaczyński.

Fotyga's deputy Piotr Kownacki has taken over temporarily as head of the President's Office until a replacement is found. For the time being, it is unclear when this will happen. A decision is expected in September at the earliest.

Fotyga had been criticized for many months as one of the most controversial figures among the president's aides. She was accused of overbearing treatment of her staff and what was described as her ostentatious dislike of the media, something that she made obvious soon after she took over as foreign minister.

Recently, at the end of negotiations on deploying parts of a U.S. missile shield in Poland, Fotyga spent a few days in the United States, where she talked with officials from President George W. Bush's administration. The Polish government criticized the visit, saying it had harmed the negotiations on the missile shield.

Some media say the direct reason for Fotyga's resignation was President Kaczyński's plan to hire Witold Waszczykowski, a former deputy foreign minister and chief Polish negotiator on the missile shield, at the Presidential Palace. Prime Minister Donald Tusk dismissed Waszczykowski after the latter gave an interview in which he disclosed the inside story of the negotiations and accused Tusk and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski of dragging their feet on the deal. According to Waszczykowski, this was because they sought to present the deal as a success of the current government, and not of previous Cabinets or the president.
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