Former Polish Prime Minister and current President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced on Tuesday that he will not run for the post of Polish President next spring, according to Polish media reports. Observers had speculated that Tusk might campaign against current head of state Andrzej Duda, who is supported by the ruling national conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS).
Tusk has said that he thinks the current Polish opposition is able to win the presidential election, “but to do this, it is important that the candidate is “not burdened by the baggage” of unpopular decisions from the past, according to reporting in the Guardian. Tusk was Prime Minister of Poland from November 2007 to September 2014, making him the longest to hold the post since the beginning of Poland’s democratic era in 1989. He will be replaced as EU Council President by the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel at the beginning of next month.
Civic Platform Chairman Grzegorz Schetyna said some time ago that if Tusk did not run for the presidential election, the party would select his candidate for the head of state in primaries. So far, only Malgorzata Kidaw-Blońska, who was the party’s candidate for prime minister in the October parliamentary elections, has shown interest in running. In Poland, the head of the Christian Democrats, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, has also been touted as a possible common opposition candidate. If President Duda is re-elected, the ruling PiS will continue to be able to push through its agenda without any major impediment, whereas an opposition president would make it more difficult for the government because the head of state has a veto.
On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice ruled that proposed reforms that would reduce the retirement age of judges and prosecutors is contrary to EU law, thereby upholding the European Commission’s complaint against Warsaw.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Polish news agency PAP that the government still intends to pursue “thorough judicial reforms”, dismissing Tuesday’s verdict by saying it referred to “a previous state of affairs.”