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Dec 13, 2023, 1:06pm EST
Europe
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Semafor Signals

Many Poles think their new PM Donald Tusk will be a ‘terrible’ leader

Insights from Rzeczpospolita, The Eurasia Group, and The Guardian

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REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel
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The News

Donald Tusk was sworn in as Poland’s new prime minister by President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday. The swearing in ceremony marks the end of eight years of rule by the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS). In his first words as prime minister, Tusk promised to obey the constitution, something the new Polish leader has repeatedly accused his predecessors of failing to do.

In a speech on Tuesday, the former head of the European Council laid out his vision for restoring Poland’s good standing in the EU, where billions in EU funds have been frozen due to rule of law concerns. Tusk also promised to improve access to abortion in Poland, which was drastically curtailed under the previous government.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

A third of Poles think he will be a “terrible” PM

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Sources:  
Rzeczpospolita, El País

Tusk remains one of the most divisive figures in Polish politics. Over 30% of respondents to a poll from the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita thought Tusk will be a “terrible” prime minister. 41.8% of respondents held a negative view of the new prime minister, while 31.2% viewed him positively. Tusk’s image in Poland has been shaped by years of smear campaigns from the outgoing Law and Justice party, El País reported.

Tusk’s pro-Ukraine stance will provide a “timely morale boost” for Kyiv

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Sources:  
The Atlantic Council, The Guardian

Tusk announced that Poland’s task is to “​​loudly and firmly demand the full determination from the entire Western community to help Ukraine in this war.” His rallying cry has come as a “timely morale boost” for Ukraine, one analyst at the Atlantic Council, a D.C. think tank, wrote. Tusk has said he will quickly resolve the simmering tensions between Warsaw and Kyiv over European concessions to Ukrainian farmers and truckers. Polish workers have accused Ukrainians of undercutting their salaries and flooding the Polish market with cheap grain, culminating in Polish truck drivers blocking key crossings into Ukraine.

President Duda is set to “disrupt Tusk’s reform agenda”

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Source:  
The Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman

While Tusk has promised to reform Poland’s justice system and reestablish ties with the EU, he will face serious challenges from Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda. Duda, who has close ties with the outgoing government, is likely to “disrupt Tusk’s reform agenda,” Mujtaba Rahman of the Eurasia Group wrote. The president has promised to veto any legislation aiming to overturn PiS’s judicial reforms, which increased the administration’s power over the legal system.

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