It's not been plain-sailing for pro-EU Tusk in Poland

Poland has been rocked by huge anti-government protests.

Poland has been rocked by huge anti-government protests.

Michael  Heaver

By Michael Heaver

Published: 15/01/2024

- 16:38

New Prime Minister Donald Tusk is already facing significant opposition to his agenda

Poland's new Government is off to a tumultuous start, including mass protests on the streets of Warsaw yesterday.

The Eurosceptic, nationalist Law and Justice party were ousted after the election when a coalition after opposition parties came together to support Donald Tusk becoming Prime Minister.

The language from Poland's now opposition Law and Justice party (Pis) has been ramping up.

The party's chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, addressed yesterday's crowd accusing Donald Tusk of pursuing a “European plan” to “liquidate our homeland as a state”.

And he claimed: “We are defending Poland against the return of German imperialism and against this ideological misery."

The Law and Justice party were hit with a range of fines by the European Union when in power, including a €1 million per day penalty after a disagreement on judicial reforms.

Since the Tusk-led alliance came to power, there has already been a string of enormous controversies.

This includes the shutting down of the 24-hour news channel TVP, with the head of the state news agency PAP and head of Polish state radio sacked.

The accusation from the Tusk Government is that these positions had all been filled by allies of the Law and Justice party, and therefore politicised with ingrained bias.

But it is remarkable to see state TV, news agency and radio put into liquidation by Tusk's pro-EU government.

This has all been denounced by Poland's President, Andrzej Duda, who claimed that the actions violated the Polish constitution.

On top of that saga, two politicians were arrested at the Presidential palace, with speculation that President Duda could pardon the two again after a previous pardon was ruled to be flawed by the courts.

President Duda vowed that: “I won’t rest until Minister Mariusz Kamiński and his colleagues are free people again, as they should be, until they are released from prison."

The pair, Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Waskiz, held the former Interior Minister and deputy posts respectively, convicted of abuse of power.

There are now claims that the pair are political prisoners, with at least one vowing to go on hunger strike.

The former Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has said: "For the first time in 35 years, since the fall of communism and the great victory of Poles over totalitarianism, we have political prisoners in Poland.

"Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik are victims of the political revenge of Donald Tusk's new government.

"I appeal to the democratic community of the West not to look passively at what is happening in Poland today."

Whilst Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Kaminski has slammed the Law and Justice party, saying: "By defending Kamiński and Wąsik Pis, he communicates that the government should be able to surveil, provoke and falsify evidence against political rivals.

"A surprising position. Rather than masochism, but alienation from the European cultural code."

It all underlines a dramatic start to the new Tusk premiership in Poland that has drawn such strong protests and division in the country.

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