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Winds of democratic change in Polish politics

Most foreign media outlets talk about the hope that Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO), if it returns to power, will put an end to the conflict with the EU and achieve consensus with the bloc on most issues, according to Euractiv.

However, some politicians fear that toppling the conservative ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government would turn out to be the wrong decision for the country. Sławomir Domaradzki, a political analyst at Warsaw University, said:

The current opposition’s coming to power does not mean that Warsaw’s position on several key issues would change as dramatically as Brussels may expect.

The Polish political scene has a fairly unified view on migration: all parliamentary parties, from the ultra-conservative Confederation Party to the left-wing, oppose relocation. Nevertheless, in recent months, Tusk has astonished most of his opposition counterparts with a harsh tone on migration.

In July, he released a video in which he criticised the Law and Justice (PiS) government for welcoming thousands of migrants “from Islamic countries.”

Polish people must regain control over their country and its borders.

Tusk stated that Poland should topple the PiS government to curb the threat, referring to Muslim immigrants coming to Poland.

After the publication of the video, other opposition parties accused him of inciting racist prejudice. Left MP Maciej Konieczny called Tusk’s statement “madness.”

Is it still Donald Tusk or maybe Donald Trump?

However, Tusk’s stance on the economic issues also worries the Polish opposition. When the PO was in power and Tusk served as prime minister, he raised Poland’s retirement age to 67. The PiS party lowered it to 65 for men and 60 for women when it came to power in 2015.

PiS warned voters that Tusk would raise the retirement age again and sell most state-owned companies to foreign firms. In an interview earlier this year, Bogusław Grabowski, a member of Tusk’s economic council, called for increasing working hours, privatisation of state-owned energy companies and Poland’s switch to the euro.

Tusk did not support Grabowski’s “private views”, stating that they had nothing to do with the PO programme. He promised that he would not raise the retirement age after winning the election.

PiS-linked media will try to convince you that a PO victory in the next election means raising the retirement age. No, it doesn’t. We will not raise the retirement age after winning the elections.

However, Tusk’s position on privatisation remains unclear. When asked about it during the pre-election debate, he only pointed to examples of the PiS government selling state-owned companies to foreign giants, including Saudi Aramco.


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