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Can Donald Tusk Go Home Again?

After the European Parliament elections this month, Poles will begin preparing for their own parliamentary election in October, followed by a presidential election next spring. For the Polish opposition, much will depend on whether two leaders with a long personal and political history can come together again for the sake of the country.

WARSAW – Donald Tusk’s term as president of the European Council will end on 30 November, which is perfect timing for the Polish opposition. After the parliamentary election in late October, Poland will hold its presidential election in April 2020, and opposition voters already see Tusk as the only viable candidate.

For the past year, Tusk has been dropping hints that he intends to return to Polish politics. “No one expects that after the conclusion of my term I will just be watching politics on television,” he recently said. Tusk is openly critical of the policies of Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), and has heaped praise on the recently created European Coalition, an opposition grouping comprising his own party, Civic Platform (PO); the Polish People’s Party (PSL); the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD); and others.

With the European Parliament election this month, Tusk has an early opportunity to start building a campaign profile. In his current role, he has become one of the faces of the European Union, which enjoys 88% support in Poland. His return to Polish domestic politics thus would bolster the opposition and set him up to leave his mark on Polish history.

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