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Saturday, 18 September 2021

Poland's Tusk vows to lead opposition to victory

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Poland's Tusk vows to lead opposition to victory
Poland's Tusk vows to lead opposition to victory

Former European Council President Donald Tusk returned to the fore of Polish politics on Saturday (July 3), becoming leader of the main opposition party in a move that many members hope can revive its sagging fortunes.

Poland’s main opposition party has a new leader - one with ample experience: former European Council President Donald Tusk.

The appointment came after talks with his predecessor Borys Budka and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who had also been tipped for the leadership.

Tusk led the Civic Platform party in government from 2007 to 2014, before serving as European Council President from 2014 - 2019.

For many in the liberal Civic Platform (PO) party, the move provides hope of a revival of the party’s sagging fortunes and the stakes are nothing less than Poland's future in the European Union.

Elections scheduled for 2023 will determine if the governing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party led by his longstanding foe Jaroslaw Kaczynski will continue its rows with Brussels over issues including judicial reforms that the EU says undermine the independence of judges and LGBT rights.

During the global financial crisis, Poland avoided a recession under Tusk's leadership, but the government came to be viewed as increasingly out of touch with the problems of younger and less affluent Poles.

On his return to Polish politics, Tusk will still have to confront this problem, as the party, which some analysts say has struggled to define its agenda and connect with voters beyond its core middle-class, urban electorate, languishes around record lows in the polls.

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