In a historic vote on December 11, former EU leader Donald Tusk returned as Poland’s Prime Minister after nearly a decade, marking a significant shift from eight years of stormy national conservative rule. Tusk’s leadership is expected to usher in a new-pro-European era, with promises to restore democratic standards and improve ties with European allies.
Background and Election Overview
Tusk’s ascension to power followed a coalition victory in the elections two months prior. The coalition, consisting of left-wing to moderate conservative parties, pledged to collaborate under Tusk’s leadership to address democratic concerns and strengthen ties with allies. The election was a response to the eight-year rule of the Law and Justice party, which faced accusations of eroding democratic norms, particularly in the judiciary and media.
Tumultuous Years Under Law and Justice
Law and Justice, in power since 2015, faced criticism for increasing control over courts, judicial bodies and public media. The EU and other Western allies accused the party of undermining judicial independence and using taxpayer-funded media as a political tool. The change in leadership reflects the collective dissatisfaction of Polish citizens, leading to a record-high turnout in the elections.
Parliamentary Vote and Transition of Power
The parliamentary vote in support of Tusk was 248-201 in the 460-seat lower house of parliament. Tusk’s leadership is anticipated to usher in a new era, with a focus on restoring democratic values and improving Poland’s relations with the EU. The transition of power, delayed by President Andrez Duda, signifies a turning point for citizens eager for change and a renewed commitment to democratic principles.
International Reaction and Expectations
Tusk’s return to power is met with enthusiasm in Brussels, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing confidence in his experience and commitment to European values. Tusk’s leadership is seen as pivotal in bolstering centrist, pro-EU forces at a time when Euroskeptics in other European nations are gaining strength. The international community awaits Tusk’s agenda, especially regarding Poland’s role in EU discussions and the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
Challenges Ahead for Tusk’s Government
Despite the celebration, Tusk’s government faces challenges, including Russia’s war in Ukraine. Tusk’s immediate plans include attending a crucial EU summit in Brussels, where discussions critical to Ukraine’s future are expected. Challenges also include managing relations with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a closely ally of Russia within the EU, who opposes Ukraine’s EU membership and funding for the war-torn country.
Important Questions Related to Exams
Q1. Who returned as Poland’s Prime Minister on December 11?
Sol. Donald Tusk returned as Poland’s Prime Minister.
Q2. What was the main focus of Tusk’s leadership upon returning to power?
Sol. Tusk’s leadership aimed to usher in a new pro-European era, with a focus on restoring democratic standards and improving ties with European allies.
Q3. What led to the coalition victory in the elections two months prior to Tusk’s return?
Sol. The coalition victory was a response to the eight-year rule of the Law and Justice party and its accusations of eroding democratic norms.