Former President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is expected to announce on Saturday his candidacy for the presidency of the Polish opposition party Civic Platform (PO), which would mark his return to politics in his country.
The 64-year-old politician co-founded the PO 20 years ago and was prime minister of his country between 2007 and 2014.
Tusk currently holds the presidency of the European People’s Party (EPP) and frequently acts as a commentator on Polish politics.
“Donald Tusk is coming back,” declared Tomasz Siemoniak, PO’s vice president, on the eve of the party’s congress this Friday.
Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, another PO deputy and deputy speaker of Parliament, considered that Tusk’s return “would solve many of our problems” and was “the path we’ve all been waiting for”.
Tusk, passionate about football, grew up in the port city of Gdansk (north), where the Solidarity movement that faced the communist regime emerged.
When he was president of the European Council, between 2014 and 2019, he managed crises such as the migration and economic situation in Greece, or the difficult Brexit negotiations.
Uncertainty has reigned since the mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, a finalist in last year’s presidential elections, declared his willingness to assume the leadership of the party.
According to press reports, Trzaskowski has backed down and will not oppose Tusk’s candidacy.
The PO ranks third in the voting intention polls, behind the Conservative Nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party and the centrist opposition party Poland 2050.
PiS has lost its narrow majority in Parliament and relations with the EU are deteriorating due to various issues, such as controversial judicial reforms.
Elections in Poland are scheduled for 2023, but analysts estimate that the ruling party could advance them to avoid a no-confidence vote in parliament.
PiS is also celebrating its congress this Saturday, which is expected to confirm Jaroslaw Kaczynski as its leader.
The party is expected to approve the appointment of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, 53, as deputy leader, making him a likely heir to Kaczynski, 72.
A poll this week shows that the ruling right-wing coalition, dominated by the PiS, leads with 34% of voting intentions, followed by Poland 2050 with 17.1% and the PO with 16.9%.
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