Poland’s opposition leader Donald Tusk called on the nation’s president to quickly start the process of handing over power after his party and its allies won a parliamentary majority in Sunday’s election.
(Bloomberg) — Poland’s opposition leader Donald Tusk called on the nation’s president to quickly start the process of handing over power after his party and its allies won a parliamentary majority in Sunday’s election.
Tusk’s Civic Platform won 157 seats in Poland’s lower house of parliament, while the Third Way alliance had 65 and the Left party 26, according to calculations based on final results confirmed by the National Electoral Commission on Tuesday. That would give the three factions 248 seats in the 460-seat legislature.
The result has buoyed Polish assets, putting the country on track to mend relations with the European Union after the nationalist Law & Justice party’s long-running conflict with Brussels on issues ranging from democratic standards to media freedom and climate policy.
It’s not clear if President Andrzej Duda will buck tradition and appoint Tusk to form a new government. Poland’s head of state has in the past designated the election winner, in this case Law & Justice with 194 seats. But this time, the ruling party would be blocked from forming a majority.
“I’m appealing to the president to make quick, energetic decisions,” Tusk said in a televised speech on Tuesday. “The parties are ready to take over the responsibility for governing the country. Mr. President, people are waiting.”
Malgorzata Paprocka, a presidential legal aide, said the process of forming the next administration should move swiftly, citing a complex geopolitical climate, with Poland serving as the main transit hub for aid and weapons to Ukraine. Duda, a Law & Justice ally, has 30 days from the election to convene parliament.
“I won’t rule out any option at the moment,” Paprocka told Polish Radio 3. She described the situation as “unusual” by Polish parliamentary standards. “The president is carefully analyzing the situation.”
The current government will resign once the new parliament convenes. Should Duda adhere to precedent, he’ll designate Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of the ruling party, who will have a two-week window to win a confidence vote in parliament and form a government.
That could delay Tusk’s ambitions to return to power by weeks. Tusk led Poland’s government from 2007 to 2014, when he was appointed European Council president. Szymon Holownia, a co-leader of Third Way, said the basis of a coalition agreement with the Civic Platform and the Left should be completed in about two weeks.
Should a deal be reached, Tusk’s coalition will have a heavy agenda of mending ties with the EU and restoring independent institutions. His top priorities include dismantling political influence over the judicial system and the media.
If he makes progress, his administration could get a significant early boost from more than €35 billion ($37 billion) in EU funding that was frozen due to a dispute with the nationalists over the rule of law.
–With assistance from Mark Sweetman.
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