Zyta Gilowska dies at 66

Professor Zyta Gilowska, former Minister of Finance, died this week at the age of 66. For a long time she was struggling with heart problems and that was what lead to her death.

Professor Gilowska was a vibrant character on Polish political scene, but was also regarded as a very competent economist and renowned expert who has her feet on the ground.

She was known for her strong will and sharp tongue. She was not afraid to clash with other government members and defend her opinions. Her determination and personality lead to numerous comparisons with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Professor Gilowska got nicknamed “Iron Zyta” both by friends and opponents.

She was born in 1949 and a graduated with a degree of the University of Warsaw. From 2001 Zyta Gilowska worked as a professor of the Catholic University of Lublin. She was the author of over 400 academic papers.

In her career she occupied numerous important positions, most notably as a Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the government of Law and Justice Party. She resigned from the office due to allegations of cooperation with communist regime, but soon returned undeterred by the fuss.

In the years 2010-2013 she was also a member of the Monetary Policy Council. She was a member of the National Development Council and a was awarded with Order of Polonia Restituta.

After two terms as a Polish MP, in 2008 she resigned from the position of a Polish Member of Parliament. Health issues are cited as the key factor for this decision.

Among greatest political achievements is lowering the disability contribution charged from all salaries. This meant lower labour costs and more money in the pockets of employees. She was a strong opponent of unnecessary budget spending and called for a reform of the country’s finances.

Zyta Gilowska shocked some by changing her political alliance. She was a leader and one of the founders of Platforma Obywatelska (Civil Platform), but left the party following allegations of nepotism.

Soon afterwards, in 2006, she was appointed a member of the government of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice). Today, the two parties remain strong opponents.

Condolences after her death were expressed by such people as the President of Poland Andrzej Duda and President of the European Council Donald Tusk (a co-founder and chairman of Civil Platform).

Funeral events will take place on Monday.