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Outgoing president of the European Council Donald Tusk speaks after he was elected as president of European Peoples Party during the European Peoples Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Civic Platform Donald Tusk Polish opposition Politics Commentary Poland

Tusk off to surprisingly awkward fresh start in Poland – commentary

Precious little indicates that Donald Tusk’s return to Polish politics has been a success, despite the claims of liberal media, writes columnist of portal wpolityce.pl Michał Karnowski

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Michał Karnowski

A month after Donald Tusk took over leadership in the Civic Platform (PO), supportive media outlets him have tried to present his return as a success and Tusk himself as in great form.

Yet an objective analysis of facts shows that there isn’t much evidence of any of this.

Yes, Tusk has raised PO’s polling slightly, but that was inevitable. What’s more, most recent surveys show that his party is losing support – not gaining it. An example is a survey by Social Changes – 23 percent of the vote is not a cause for celebration. The charge against Szymon Hołownia’s voters hasn’t worked out as Tusk is most likely, to them, a relic.

Nevertheless, those who claim that we are at the stage of establishing starting positions for the 2023 election marathon, and that current polls aren’t so important, are right. Given this perspective, an evaluation of the quality of leadership proposed by PO and the cohesion of its offer is much more important.

Here is where I see a huge issue for PO. Despite attempts to twist reality, the first month of “Tusk’s comeback” can hardly be considered a success in this regard.

First, there were the clear lies concerning the child social benefit program “500+“ and former PO leader Ewa Kopacz’s plans to introduce a similar idea. Then Tusk decided to attack the Church (fighting the presence of crosses in public places) and finally strike against families and especially mothers by calling motherhood “torment”.

Is all of this planned out? Does Tusk really have self-control?

Each of these examples offends, alienates, and adds nothing new. Together, they form a chaotic, pointless, incoherent whole. If we search hard enough, then I guess we could find a radically Leftist line of thought. But I doubt this was the intent, given that PO wanted to rebuild its offer for the moderate majority.

One could hypothesize that Tusk has deteriorated intellectually during his absence. Behind the more or less flashy interviews, there is a clear lack of work concerning his approach to key issues for Poles. It’s as if he decided that his media umbrella will be sufficient – and, given his ambitions, this is disappointing.

I am far from underestimating Donald Tusk. I am not deciding that a weak start will determine a similar low quality of the rest. Perhaps he just has to hit his stride. But for now it must be said clearly – the former “king of Europe” has had a surprising awkward start in Poland.