English Section

Poland's largest opposition party names Donald Tusk as its pick for PM

20.10.2023 06:30
Poland’s largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), has named its leader Donald Tusk as its choice for prime minister after the country's parliamentary elections.
Donald Tusk (PO)
Donald Tusk (PO)PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

The ruling conservatives won Poland's October 15 elections, but lost a parliamentary majority, making it more likely for the opposition to take power.

Senior PO lawmaker Borys Budka told reporters on Thursday that Tusk, a former prime minister and former European Union president, would travel to Brussels next week in an effort to unblock EU funds frozen over rule-of-law concerns.

"Donald Tusk will be in Brussels next week, meeting with the leaders of European countries," Budka said.

He added that the visit would likely take place on Wednesday and Thursday, coinciding with an EU summit.

Concerns over the rule of law in Poland are blocking the country's access to EUR 76.5 billion in EU cohesion funds and EUR 35.4 billion in COVID-19 recovery funds, the Reuters news agency reported.

The office of Poland's President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday that the head of state would meet with political party leaders next week to discuss the formation of a new government after the elections.

The governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, allied with two smaller groupings in a United Right coalition, claimed 35.4 percent of the vote and 194 seats in elections to the lower house of parliament.

Meanwhile, the largest opposition bloc, the Civic Coalition, led by Tusk's Civic Platform party, won 30.7 percent of the vote and 157 seats.

The centre-right opposition Third Way alliance finished third at the ballot box with 14.4 percent of the vote and 65 seats, and the New Left, another opposition party, finished fourth with 8.6 percent and 26 seats.

The far-right Confederation group, with 7.2 percent of the vote, also crossed the 5-percent voter support threshold that Polish parties need to clear to enter parliament. It secured 18 lower-house seats.

The Civic Coalition, the Third Way and the New Left have pledged to form a coalition government. Together they hold 248 seats in the 460-seat lower house.

Polish voters went to the ballot box on Sunday to choose 460 MPs and 100 senators for a four-year term. Tusk won the most votes among the new set of MPs that voters elected.

The opposition won 66 senatorial seats, while the ruling conservatives secured 34 seats in the upper house of Poland's bicameral parliament.

The upper house, the Senate, is less powerful than the lower chamber, but it can delay or amend legislation. The Sejm, the lower house, needs to muster an absolute majority to override Senate amendments.


Source: PAP, Reuters