On March 15, Donald Tusk campaigned for the united opposition in Hungary, which lost last Sunday. “Wherever he goes, there’s scorched earth” says Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) MEP, Dominik Tarczyński.
Despite being the president of the European Council until 2019, Tusk took part in all the recent election campaigns in Poland too. Just before the European Parliamentary elections in 2019, he was applauding away when a liberal commentator compared Catholics to pigs. He was also there for the parliamentary elections. Both ended in defeat for the slates he backed.
He fared no better in 2020 when he supported Rafał Trzaskowski in the presidential election. The Warsaw mayor lost narrowly to President Andrzej Duda, and Tusk has also failed to help the Hungarian opposition which has just lost badly to Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz.
But Tusk insists on calling for a united opposition bloc in Poland ahead of the parliamentary election next year. He insists that one bloc will have broader support than the ruling party. Even some in his own party are skeptical.
Former Prime Minister and the Civic Platform (PO) MEP Jerzy Buzek has said that parties who are close to each other should make common ground, but if that front is too broad, people will not believe in it and will abstain instead of voting.
Ruling party politicians taunt him about the “curse of Tusk” and accuse him of having lost his political instinct, pointing to his recent campaign photos with the Jobbik party leader Peter Jakab in Hungary.
Tusk is finding it difficult to accept that he cannot control the whole of the opposition.