Poland facing pro-EU future as Donald Tusk officially becomes prime minister

Mateusz Morawiecki’s outgoing Polish government has suffered an embarrassing parliamentary defeat, allowing pro-EU leader Donald Tusk to officially become prime minister today.

Mr Morawiecki’s ministers lost a vote of no confidence today, with 266 lawmakers in the Sejm – the lower house of Poland’s parliament – voting against the incumbent prime minister.

Just 190 people in the 460-seat lower house voted to keep the authoritarian Morawiecki government in place, paving the way for centrist former EU Council chief Mr Tusk to take the helm.

Poles turned out in massive numbers to end the eight-year reign of the Law and Justice party (PiS) on October 15, and handed Mr Tusk’s Civic Platform party (PO) the mandate to create a government of its own.

He became the new prime minister this evening, just hours after Conservative lawmakers delivered their final goodbyes from parliament and their replacements declared “history is being made”.

READ MORE: Brexit critic Donald Tusk poised to become Poland’s new Prime Minister

PiS came first in the October elections, and party ally, President Andrzej Duda, offered Morawiecki a chance to establish a new government. But, lacking allies, the party failed, and a confidence vote was called to determine whether it could continue to serve.

All Polish governments must survive a vote of confidence to stay in power, and once he has cobbled together ministers from his and several other allied parties, Mr Tusk must now withstand one of his own.

He is tipped to pass as, while his party is only the second-largest in Poland, a coalition is deemed almost certain.

The news of Europhile Donald Tusk’s win as Prime Minister marks Poland out as bucking the trend within the EU, as many other countries begin to turn their back on the bloc in the wake of the election of far-right Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Giorgia Meloni’s rule in Italy.

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KO members have now celebrated the expected victory, with some declaring their victory via social media.

One KO lawmaker, Monika Rosa, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “We are saying goodbye to PiS…history is being made.”

Mr Tusk, the former EU Council president, has said his administration would seek to mend relations with Brussels and undo the democratic backsliding seen under PiS.

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EU officials have withheld €30 billion (£26 billion) worth of Covid recovery funds earmarked for Poland due to what the bloc’s officials said was the politicisation of the country’s courts.

PiS was accused of wanting its “own judges” to influence national decisions, concerns shared by some within the bloc.

With Mr Tusk in charge, those funds could soon find their way to Poland, but the courts remain, in many cases, aligned with the now former ruling party.

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