Donald Tusk returned to Polish politics. The former Polish prime minister, then “European President” and then the leader of the European People’s Party, is the head of the Civic Tribune after Saturday: the party he founded, with whom he ruled the country for eight years and fights in it. Opposition to the ruling Law and Justice Party.
Months of speculation about his Polish future is over – he did not take part in last year’s presidential election, and a number of parties delayed the long-awaited return to his party leadership. He is now the interim president of the Civic Forum. The current president, Boris Boudka, has resigned (became vice president) and Tusk wants to lead the party in elections scheduled for the fall of 2023.
The decision of the broader leadership of the party was unanimous: with a bit of exaggeration (and according to some parties) it could be said that part of the party was waiting for Tusk as a mercy. The program is not only losing ground to the ruling PiS in opinion polls, but it is not necessarily a leader of the opposition – according to current voter support in Poland 2050, political novice Szymon Hołowni.
Which also means that not everyone is excited about Tusk’s decision. Young party members in particular regard his return as a pointless step back and certainly not a guarantee of future victory – he sees the party’s hope in Rafai Trzaskovsky, Warsaw’s mayor and presidential candidate last year, who failed but was unexpectedly close to victory. Perhaps Trzaskovsky himself is now thinking about his political future. It remains uncertain whether the popular mayor of the capital will break with his party and establish his own.
Dissatisfied people have strong arguments. According to polls, less than a third of people believe that Tusk will become prime minister. On the contrary, two-thirds do not like such an opinion. Tusk’s supporters argue that the former prime minister has one important advantage: he was the only person who managed to upset and defeat Jaroslav Kaczynski, the country’s real ruler and head of the PiS, in the elections. The hysterical reaction of public television (and mainly party) as well as the statements of government politicians indicate that PiS is aware of this.
The coming months will show how the “young” wing of the program will act and whether Tusk will be able to reverse the distrust of most voters. The elections are scheduled for more than a year and a half. However, due to disagreements in the Polish nationalist conservative government camp, it is possible that Polish voters will go to the polls early.