Five Takeaways From Donald Tusk's First 100 Days in Government
Politics Overshadows Policy as Tusk Marks 100 Days in Office and Poland Heads for Local Elections

March 21, 2024
More than three months after returning to power, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is taking domestic and international credit for restoring the country’s troubled relationship with the European Union, rebuilding trust between Warsaw and its European partners and a generally optimistic investment climate. Arguably, securing the first tranche of Poland’s post-pandemic EU recovery funds in February has been one of the most significant accomplishments of the Tusk Cabinet, which comes after years of failure to do so under the previously ruling Law and Justice party (PiS). The recovery funds will greatly benefit the country’s energy, digital, transport and healthcare sectors and has seen Poland’s national currency recover to its strongest position in 15 years.

At the same time, Tusk is also facing increasing domestic criticism for failing to deliver on his preelection manifesto. His Civic Coalition (KO) outlined 100 promises for their first 100 days in office, but critics say only limited progress has been made, while some issues, including a compromise on the near-total abortion ban, remain nearly impossible to implement due to ideological differences with the KO’s coalition partners, the centrist-agrarian Third way and the left-wing Lewica.

Shortly after taking office, the third Tusk Government was quick to focus on launching investigations into alleged wrongdoings under the previously governing PiS and “restoring the independence” of the country’s PiS-controlled public media outlets. While the ruling bloc remains committed to investigating the PiS era, the government has been accused of prioritizing political revenge over policy issues in the short term, in an effort to secure a good result in the upcoming local elections. Further clashes appear inevitable as the ruling bloc aims to unseat several PiS-era officials, including the governor of the central bank.

While cracks have started to emerge between Poland’s ruling parties, particularly along handling ideological issues, Aretera’s baseline scenario assumes that the multi-party coalition, united by an opposition to PiS, will remain stable, at least in the short term. Scheduled for 7th April, the upcoming local elections will present the first electoral test for the new government, with Tusk’s KO heading into the election with high expectations as its main rival PiS struggles to recover from its historic electoral defeat at the polls last October.
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