28th May 2023

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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,, 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 - 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.


Poland: Duda victory isn't what you think

Many European commentators have said Duda's victory means Poland has shifted to the right. But the result is more of a protest against an out-of-touch elite.

Tusk extols pragmatism in EU affairs

EU Council chair Tusk has called for a balanced EU policy on migration, warned against treaty change, and said he aims to promote banking and market union.

MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024

"This will be the first time a member state that is under the Article 7 procedure will take over the rotating presidency of the council," French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the key lawmaker on Hungary, warned.

European Parliament scales back luxury MEP pension fund

The European Parliament's Bureau, a political body composed of the president and its vice-presidents, decided to slash payouts from the fund by 50 percent, freeze automatic indexations, and increase the pension age from 65 to 67.

WhoisWho? Calls mount to bring back EU directory

NGOs and lobbyists slammed the EU commission for removing contact details of non-managerial staff from its public register, arguing that the institution is now less transparent.


MEP luxury pension held corporate assets in tax havens

While the European Parliament was demanding a clamp down on tax havens, many of its own MEPs were using their monthly office allowances to finance a luxury pension scheme that held corporate assets in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and elsewhere.


What a Spanish novelist can teach us about communality

In a world where cultural clashes and sectarianism seems to be on the increase, Spanish novelist Javier Cercas (b.1962) takes the opposite approach. He cherishes both life in the big city and in the countryside.


Poland and Hungary's ugly divorce over Ukraine

What started in 2015 as a 'friends-with-benefits' relationship between Viktor Orbán and Jarosław Kaczyński, for Hungary and Poland, is ending in disgust and enmity — which will not be overcome until both leaders leave.

Latest News

  1. How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon
  2. EU criminal complicity in Libya needs recognition, says expert
  3. Europe's missing mails
  4. MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024
  5. PFAS 'forever chemicals' cost society €16 trillion a year
  6. EU will 'react as appropriate' to Russian nukes in Belarus
  7. The EU needs to foster tech — not just regulate it
  8. EU: national energy price-spike measures should end this year

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us