Progressive Poles have high expectations of new Tusk government


Central Europe


Donald Tusk presents his programme to lawmakers in the Polish Parliament. Photo Wojtek Radwanski

Poland's new Prime Minister Donald Tusk is focusing mainly on one thing: undoing plans of the previous conservative government. He seems to be succeeding in this, despite protests from Catholics.

A purge is coming for Polish conservatives in government-controlled companies and the state media, writes Politico. According to the European news outlet, the new Prime Minister Donald Tusk will be focussing on unrolling the reforms made by PiS, especially with regards to the judicial system.

Tusk, who was Prime Minister from 2007 until 2014, was re-elected to that office in December. Although the former PM Mateusz Morawiecki, who led a conservative government, retained the most seats in parliament, he lost a vote of confidence. Tusk, meanwhile, closed ranks with two other opposition parties, securing a cabinet for progressive, pro-European voices.

It seems that under Tusk’s new leadership, Poland has entered an era of progressive politics. The new Education minister wants to reduce state aid to Catholic catechism classes in schools. And Polish President Andrzej Duda has now signed a law restoring state aid for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments. That aid had been cut under the previous government. Amid these changes, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that current Polish statutes, which recognise marriage as between a man and a woman, violate the “right to respect for private and family life.” Aside of that, the court also ruled that Poland’s near-total ban on abortion violated pregnant woman’s rights.

Duda's signature came under the law despite protests from the Catholic Church. In a letter to Duda, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, asked for a refusal to sign the bill. "Human life is a fundamental value and an indispensable good,” wrote the archbishop. “It therefore demands absolute protection, regardless of the period and quality of human life. The in vitro method, meanwhile, is experimentation on man, its peculiar ‘production’ constituting ‘a form of seizure of human life’.”

Progressives do fear 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, but both the President and the PM promised to work together. "One should be optimistic,” Tusk told reporters. "I hope that everything will be OK.”



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