Poland: Tensions in new ruling coalition as Tusk tries to sideline partners

Opposition party leaders, from left, Wlodzimierz Czarzasty, Szymon Holownia, Donald Tusk and Władyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, arrive for a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The leaders of the Third Way alliance are increasingly convinced that Donald Tusk and his party, Civic Platform (PO), want to marginalize them in the ruling coalition and politics in general. On Thursday, Tusk posted on social media telling his supporters that at these local elections, voters do not have to tactically support Third Way but can vote in accordance with their convictions.

He contends that a large chunk of support for Third Way in the 2023 election consisted of tactical votes to ensure that the alliance crossed the 8 percent electoral threshold and that the local elections on April 7 will show that to have been the case. 

One of the leaders of Third Way, Speaker of the Parliament Szymon Hołownia, appealed to Tusk to concentrate on reforming hospitals, schools and the tax system in line with his grouping’s priorities and said that the coalition partners should move forward rather than fighting amongst themselves. 

However, Tusk supporters argue that it is time Third Way understood that they had benefited from tactical voting, and are sore that Third Way is blocking the passage of legislation to liberalize Poland’s abortion legislation. They are also threatening to leave the government if Tusk’s party does not agree to cut taxes for entrepreneurs. 

Tusk, having taken control of the government, seems confident that his party can become Poland’s most popular political force once again. This is why he turned down the possibility of an electoral alliance with the Left and is now attempting to squeeze the Third Way vote. 

Inside the government itself, Tusk is relentless. He has shown his confidence and determination in taking on the president and making executive decisions that bypass legislation. This can only be read as an attempt to dominate the coalition and reduce coalition partners to the role of bystanders or satellites. 

According to political scientist Marcin Palade, Third Way may face a squeeze not only from Tusk’s party but also from the right-wing Confederation party, to which it is close on some economic issues. This is why Third Way is expressing concerns about the lack of tax reforms and measures to help businesses.

Share This Article