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Poland: Despite Tusk's success, the right advances

Poland: Despite Tusk's success, the right advances

As is often the case, it is the “narrative” that is most important, the story that ingrains itself in the public consciousness. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is adept at crafting this narrative. He also has many willing listeners in Brussels and among European leaders, who want things to go well for Tusk's liberal Citizens' coalition and badly for the right-wing nationalists.

Tusk Central Party became the largest. It is of symbolic importance. For the first time in ten years, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's nationalist conservative party, Law and Justice, failed to win the largest share of votes in the elections.

First reactions Perhaps what is worrying about the EU elections is that Tusk, a former president of the European Council, has managed to resist the authoritarian, Eurosceptic and partly pro-Russian trend that has achieved such great electoral success in France and Germany.

Photo: TT

As the leader of one of the three countries that form the heart of the European Union, the so-called Franco-German-Polish Weimar Triangle, Tusk has become a heavyweight player in the distribution of top jobs in Brussels and how the majority of EU countries should make up the parliament. According to Polish media, one of Tusk's goals is to marginalize right-wing nationalist Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni from the largest group in parliament. One reason is that she belongs to the ECR, the same conservative party group to which Tusk's arch-enemy PIS belongs. Tusk does not want the Christian democratic group, the European People's Party, to which the Citizens' Alliance belongs, to ally with Meloni's European People's Party, which also includes the Sweden Democrats.

With the electoral success behind him, the Polish Prime Minister, who also previously had a strong position in Brussels, is considered able to have a greater role.

But more precisely With these considerations in mind, it turns out that things have not gone well for democratic and EU-friendly parties in Poland either. There is no doubt that the Citizens' Alliance, with 37% of the votes, defeated the Law and Reform Party, which received 36% of the votes. But it was a very narrow margin, much worse than expected.

Bullens president Andrzej Duda.

Photo: Urs Flueler/AFP

After winning the elections in October, the new government succeeded in a number of things, primarily in breaking the political control imposed by the Law and Reform Party on the public media. Other measures, such as depoliticizing the legal system and liberalizing abortion, have been slower, largely because President Andrzej Duda, a friend of the Law and Order Party, blocks any attempts at reform, thanks to his veto power.

After the Polish regional and municipal elections last April – in which the candidates of the liberal government coalition swept all the major cities – the TASK slogan also expanded.

But the European Union elections June 9 was not successful. On the contrary, overall government support declined: from 54% in the fall to 52%. While the percentage of the two right-wing parties increased from 43 to 48 percent.

Although the percentage of liberals in Tusk's party rose sharply compared to the parliamentary elections, from 30 to 37 percent, this was a severe setback for his smaller partners in government. Support for the conservative Treadjewagen Party was halved from 14 to 7 percent, while support for Vanstern fell from 8.6 to 6.3 percent.

Now the parliamentary elections cannot be compared to the European Union elections, as is the case in Sweden. If nothing else, turnout is different: in October, 75% of Poles voted, while only 40% went to the polls in June.

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Photo: Claudia Radica/TT

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Photo: Jaap Ahrens/TT

The decline in voter turnout contributed perhaps to the most worrying result for the government: the far-right populist pro-Putin Confederation led strongly, from 7.2 to 12.1 percent.

Since the formation of the government in the fall The smaller coalitions Tredje vägen and Vänstern had difficulty being seen or heard due to their heart problems, and ended up under Tusk and the dominant Citizens' coalition. It is clear that their voters expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of visibility of these parties by boycotting the vote.

Many expected that right-wing nationalism would suffer a fatal blow when the Law and Policy Party lost government power. The decline will continue with the loss of control over state-owned media and the Justice and Development Party will collapse.

The truth is that the Law and Policy Party is not far behind the Citizens' Alliance, and the nation remains politically divided into two roughly equal halves. But the situation can change on both sides. On the right side, the Party of Law and Reform (PIS) lost a large portion of its voters to the CNT. In order to win them back, Kaczynski may have to radicalize his party.

On the government side, there are fears that cooperation will not last for the mandate period, when Tusk's party appears to have “upset” its junior partners.

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