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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » April 29, 2009
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Pole to Head Council of Europe?
April 29, 2009   
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Former Polish prime minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, a popular leftist politician and a senator, is one of two candidates recommended by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the post of the council’s secretary-general.

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Thornbjorn Jaglan is the other official recommended by the Committee of Ministers, which is composed of the foreign ministers of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states.

The new secretary-general will be elected by secret ballot at the next session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in late June.

During a political career that has lasted several decades, Cimoszewicz, 59, was prime minister in a coalition government of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish People’s Party (PSL) in 1996-1997; foreign minister in the SLD-PSL government of Prime Minister Leszek Miller in 2001-2005; and speaker of the lower house of parliament in 2005. He also ran for president in the 1990 election, when he was the only leftist candidate, and in 2005, when he withdrew a few months after the election campaign got under way. He has often come into conflict with not only his political opponents but also leftist politicians.

The new Council of Europe secretary-general will take office Sept. 1, 2009 to replace Terry Davis of Britain.

The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is the oldest international organization working toward European integration. It focuses on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law, and cultural cooperation. It has 47 member states with some 800 million citizens. Its statutory institutions are the Committee of Ministers comprising the foreign ministers of each member state, the Parliamentary Assembly composed of MPs from the parliament of each member state, and the secretary-general heading the Secretariat of the Council of Europe.

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