Poland’s parliament has elected centrist party leader Donald Tusk as prime minister, paving the way for a new pro-EU government after eight years of national conservative rule.
Tusk was elected prime minister nearly two months after a national election that was won by a coalition of parties ranging from left-wing to moderate conservative.
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The parties ran on separate tickets but promised to work together under Tusk’s leadership to restore democratic standards and improve ties with allies.
The vote on Monday was 248-201 in support of Tusk in the 460-seat lower house of parliament.
“READY, STEADY, GO!” Tusk wrote on X in anticipation of the vote on Monday.
READY, STEADY, GO!
— Donald Tusk (@donaldtusk) December 11, 2023
Tusk is scheduled on Tuesday to give a speech to parliament, present his cabinet and face a vote of confidence for his new government. He should then be sworn in by President Andrzej Duda, a step expected Wednesday.
The election of Tusk comes after the former government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s government lost a confidence vote in parliament earlier on Monday.
The reign of the outgoing right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party was marked by numerous disputes with the EU over issues including judicial independence, the rule of law and minority rights, and have led to billions in funds from the bloc being frozen.
“Democracy has won … This is the end of the PiS government,” Tusk told party members at a celebration on Sunday evening.
A former European Council president, Tusk intends to move Poland closer to European allies and revive support for Ukraine. His Civic Coalition (KO) party ran with Third Way and the New Left on separate tickets but with a shared commitment to restoring ties with Europe.
Tusk has said he would seek to unblock about 110 billion euros ($118bn) of European Union funds earmarked for Poland, which have been frozen due to rule-of-law concerns, from day one if he heads a new government.