Home » Donald Tusk Sworn in as Polish PM
Europe Featured News Politics World News

Donald Tusk Sworn in as Polish PM

Donald Tusk was sworn in as Poland’s new prime minister on Wednesday by President Andrzej Duda and promised that his government would obey the country’s constitution — a kick at the outgoing Law and Justice (PiS) government which had been accused of violating the constitution in its effort to bring the justice system under tighter political control.

“Allegiance to the provisions of the constitution will be the trademark of this team, this new government,” Tusk said during the ceremony.

The emphasis on rule of law is an effort to repair relations with Brussels, which were strained to breaking point during the eight years that PiS governed the country. The European Commission has blocked €35 billion in EU grants and loans for recovering from the coronavirus pandemic as well as €76.5 billion of regular EU development money over Poland’s backsliding on the bloc’s democratic principles. 

Tusk stressed that growing dismay in the country about PiS’s track record on such issues helped galvanize the strong turnout in the October 15 election that brought a coalition of three opposition parties to power.

The “overwhelming impression that the record turnout on October 15 was also caused by concern, fear, hope and dreams related to the problem of compliance with the law and the constitution,” he said.

The new PM plans to take part in Wednesday’s EU-Western Balkans summit and will be in Brussels on Thursday for the meeting of EU leaders — a return to his old Brussels stomping grounds where he headed the European Council from 2014 to 2019.

A key priority will be unlocking some of the frozen funds and marshalling flagging support for Ukraine.

However, a lot of the focus of the new government will be on domestic politics — unrolling the reforms made by PiS, especially with regards to the judicial system, as well as purging Law and Justice loyalists from government-controlled companies and the state media.

There are fears that Duda will be able to block a lot of those measures as the new coalition doesn’t have the votes in parliament to override his veto.

However, both Duda and Tusk pledged to work together.

“One should be optimistic,” Tusk told reporters. “I hope we have a common goal, even if different paths and different experiences, sometimes very different, but I don’t think anyone should doubt that when you are president or prime minister you have to serve Poland and actually nothing else should matter. Yes, I hope that everything will be OK.”

Duda also promised to cooperate with the new government.

“I can assure you that what is for the good of the citizens and the permanence of the [Polish Republic], I will certainly not oppose, I will not block it,” he said.