Power struggle in Poland: Tusk too brutal?

The confrontations between the new and former governing camps in Poland are heating up. The Constitutional Court has now ruled that the dissolution of state broadcasters ordered by Prime Minister Donald Tusk is illegal. The Ministry of Culture has countered that the ruling was invalid and that the court, whose judges were appointed by the former national-conservative PiS government, is not independent. The press joins the fray.

Open/close all quotes
Polityka (PL) /

Challenge is bigger than it looked

Even abroad people are starting to understand that the situation in Poland is not going to calm down any time soon, Polityka observes:

“After the elections on 15 October a wave of optimism swept through Europe as Donald Tusk proved to be the first politician to defeat a populist, Eurosceptic government at odds with Brussels. ... However, a month after Tusk took office and a quarter of a year after the election victory, it is already clear that restoring the rule of law in Poland will be neither easy nor quick and may require steps that are at the very least controversial and sometimes even seen as 'brutal'. Europe is slowly realising the scale of the problem that Warsaw faces.”

Financial Times (GB) /

No sledgehammer reforms

The new government must proceed with caution, the Financial Times warns:

“If democracy is to take root in Poland long-term, the new government has to act with responsibility and restraint. It cannot be seen to be cutting legal corners. As it removes PiS lackeys from state institutions and companies, it must refrain from substituting its own loyalists but choose independent-minded figures. ... Restoring the independence of the courts and state TV - still the main news source for many Poles - are vital first steps in bridging divisions. But as it does so, the Tusk government must take care to avoid any appearance of acting in the same manner as its predecessor.”

hvg (HU) /

This is what change looks like

Hvg is not surprised by the developments:

“Yes, this is what the demolition of such a regime looks like. Criminals are locked up, court poets are dismissed. Privileges are abolished, illegally acquired assets confiscated. These are not show trials, this is not the persecution of kulaks but the exposure of real crimes, the shutting down of publicly funded propaganda channels: a pivotal element of regime change.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Duda is an anti-democrat

For the Tages-Anzeiger, the Polish head of state has discredited himself once and for all:

“President Andrzej Duda has coined a new expression in the history of Polish right-wing populism: 'terror of the rule of law'. According to him Donald Tusk's liberal-conservative government is overrunning the country with this approach. ... Duda's statements and speeches are carefully considered and propagated. What does it matter if he discredits himself as an anti-democrat once and for all? All Duda's career options once his term of office ends in 2025 lie within the PiS party.”