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POLAND: Tusk in Poland

President of the European Council and former Polish PM Donald Tusk visited Poland this weekend, attending a conference in Kraków on the role of the church in the EU. Tusk’s appearances had a distinct campaign feel to them and his statements criticized the PiS government on all fronts. When walking through the city, Tusk was surrounded by hundreds of supporters and media crews. The PO co-founder is likely to remain vocally involved in domestic politics ahead of the election season.

In July, Tusk gave the first open indication that he is interested in running in the 2020 presidential race in Poland. Now, his appearances in Polish politics are becoming increasingly involved. Tusk is widely seen as the only politician who has the capability of uniting the opposition and decisively winning an election against Kaczyński’s ruling PiS party. Top PiS officials, including Kaczyński, have suggested that Tusk himself should face criminal charges related to a number of ongoing investigations.

While Tusk enjoys the support of the PO voter base, who would like to see him back at the party’s helm, the general voting population still remembers the atmosphere of scandal due to which PO lost the last parliamentary elections. Now, however, when wiretaps of PM Morawiecki have emerged, PO has a chance to turn the tables on PiS. Still, while Tusk’s potential return will refuel the opposition’s potential, his victory in a potential face-off against Duda in 2020 is far from certain.