Donald Tusk Returns As Polish PM, Vows To "Chase Away The Evil" Of Years Of Right-Populist Rule

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023 - 07:45 AM

Donald Tusk is returning to power as Poland's new prime minister after nearly a decade. He's now vowing to "chase away the darkness … chase away the evil" of the prior eight years of tumultuous national-conservative rule.

On Monday, Poland’s parliament voted to back his nomination as the next prime minister. It's being hailed as a major win for pro-EU centrists at a moment Eurocrats in Brussels have feared the growing influence of 'far right disruptors' from Hungary to Italy to the Netherlands. His detractors have denounced Tusk as a globalist who will sell out Poland's national sovereignty, culture, and traditional values.

Donald Tusk reacts to his victory in parliament on Monday, via AP.

This came on the heels of earlier Monday former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party having lost a crucial vote of confidence. The subsequent vote was 248 in favor of Tusk becoming prime minister, with 201 against.

"Thank you, Poland. This is a wonderful day, not for me, but for all those who have deeply believed over these years that things will get even better," Tusk said. "From tomorrow, we will be able to right the wrongs so that everyone, without exception, can feel at home," he pledged, and laid out that his three-way alliance (a coalition ranging from from left-wing to moderate conservative) which emerged with a clear mandate in October's elections would "fix everything together."

Given that he was European Council president from 2014-2019, following his first stint as Poland's prime minister from 2007-2014, he's expected to greatly improve Warsaw's relations with EU leadership in Brussels. 

Political rivals and enemies of PiS have long charged the party during its tenure with eroding judicial independence and waging a propaganda campaign against immigrants and sexual minorities. However, PiS said it has charted an independent, sovereign path of progress putting Poles first and thwarting foreign interference.

Detractors blame years of stormy PiS rule for the European Union freezing tens of billions of Euros of EU funds over so-called rule of law issues. Tusk has vowed to see the funds flowing again.

Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the Polish Peasants’ Party (PSL), one among the pro-Tusk coalition, said of him: "He gave up the comfortable life he could have had after being president of the European Council and came back... to fight for the victory of democracy, decency and justice."

Poland's conservative and right-leaning parties see Tusk as a globalist who seeks to open up the borders of Poland, which they fear will further erode Polish culture and identity. Last month, we featured the following analysis:

The liberal-globalist opposition coalition’s victory in last month’s Polish elections, which its Foreign Minister earlier accused Germany of meddling in, will likely result in former Prime Minister and European Council President Donald Tusk’s return to the premiership. In that event, this German-aligned politician could voluntarily subordinate his country to Berlin, thus resulting in Poland ceding its envisaged regional sphere of influence to that country and becoming its largest-ever vassal indefinitely.

Tusk’s plans to improve ties with the de facto German-controlled EU are regarded by conservative-nationalists as a means to that end, particularly due to that body’s efforts to further erode Polish sovereignty. Although he claims to oppose changes to the EU Treaty, some doubt his sincerity and suspect that he slyly wants to prevent large-scale protests over this issue. If these two scenarios come to pass, then Poland’s sovereignty would be further reduced, including in the defense sphere.

Prior to last month’s elections, Germany and Poland were competing to build the EU’s largest military, but the aforesaid sequence of events could result in Warsaw throwing in the towel.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Ukraine issue, given the recent months of deteriorating Poland-Ukraine relations. Western allies had been alarmed at Warsaw very publicly shifting away from its initial enthusiastic support for Kiev.

Tusk has pledged not only to rapidly restore good relations with the European Union, but to revive strong support for neighboring Ukraine as well to defend against Russia.

He's expected to give his first major speech back in office as prime minister on Tuesday, after which he's expected to be formally sworn in by President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday.