President plans national mourning following death of former PM

President Andrzej Duda has announced that he will declare a day of national mourning following the death of former PM Jan Olszewski who passed away on February 7.

“Farewell to an extraordinary lawyer and statesman, awarded the Order of the White Eagle, prime minister of a free and independent Poland, requires proper respect,” Mr Duda tweeted.

The precise date of the national mourning remain yet to be specified. Meanwhile, the Presidential Palace’s facade has been illuminated with an image commemorating the departed PM. A book of condolences has been opened in the PM’s Office and national flags have been draped with palls.

During the communist era, Jan Olszewski, a lawyer by profession, defended opposition activists who were often arrested on trumped-up charges. He became Poland’s first democratically elected PM in 1991 and served until June 1992. In the years 2006-2010, he served the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński as a presidential aide.

Former PM Jan Olszewski passed away on February 7, with the information released the following day. He was 88.

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