Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Polish ruling party is missing Donald Tusk

  • Donald Tusk, previously Polish PM, is now European Council President (Photo: European Council)

For the first time in seven years Poland's governing centre-right party, Civic Platform (CP), has fallen to third place in public affections.

According to the latest opinion poll, conducted by Millward Brown for TVN24 tv station, just 17 percent of voters plan to back it in October's parliamentary election.

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  • Ewa Kopacz took over from Tusk but her party is suffering in the polls (Photo: "The Council of the European Union")

The populist Law and Justice Party is polling first (25%), while musician-turned-politician Pawel Kukiz is on 20 percent and the newly established liberal group, Nowoczesna.pl, led by a former CP supporter and well known economist Ryszard Petru is on 10 percent.

Only two weeks ago the same opinion poll ranked Civic Platform first, but now, Kukiz and Nowoczesna.pl - seen as the bigger threat - are snapping up CP voters.

"Ryszard Petru addresses all those disappointed Civic Platform voters who still want more liberal economic solutions - a more liberal labour market, lower taxes, less redistribution of income. His programme is similar to what Donald Tusk declared in 2001, when he founded CP", says Wojciech Jablonski, a political scientist from Warsaw University.

That’s why some CP politicians want to get Petru to work together. No proposal was made yet, but he says he is not interested.

"I want to build a political formation of my own," he told EUobserver.

Lost identity

Civic Platform's problems started after party leader and prime minister Donald Tusk left last year for Brussels to take up the post of European Council president.

He was replaced by Ewa Kopacz, who took over both the government and the party leadership. But according to commentators she lacks charisma and political instinct.

"Ewa Kopacz is just a technocratic prime minister but politics is about emotions so her attitude is absolutely not enough", Jablonski said.

There are other problems too.

Following the controversial dismantling of a funded pension scheme and a reluctance - despite promises - to reduce unfair tax and pension privileges for teachers or uniformed services, CP is losing its credibility among the voters.

Even Andrzej Olechowski, a co-founder of CP, supports Ryszard Petru, as does Leszek Balcerowicz, a well-known economist who is the face of Polish post-Communist liberal transformation.

Civic Platform on Tuesday (2 June) met for a closed meeting to work out a strategy to regain popular support.

"The poll results are dramatic, this cannot be denied. But there is no need to change the leadership, we are ready to get back on track," Marek Biernacki, a MP from the party, told media after the meeting.

Party activists want to meet the demands of young people and entrepreneurs.

They also agreed that a referendum should be held on scrapping state-budget financing of political parties and single mandate district elections.

Those two issues were among the most discussed topics during the recent presidential campaign.

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