Donald Tusk presents his government to Polish parliament as he becomes prime minister – Europe live | Poland #Donald #Tusk #presents #government #Polish #parliament #prime #minister #Europe #live #Poland

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Donald Tusk’s second coming: can returning PM remake Poland?

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

It was the young Donald Tusk’s habit, after watching or playing a game of football with friends, to make two toasts at the Pod Kasztanami bar in Gdańsk: the first to the fortunes of his club, Lechia Gdańsk, and the second to the “end of komunizm” in Poland.

Tusk, now 66, is unlikely to make the annual game of football that his close circle has been playing for the last 40 years, always at noon on New Year’s Eve. But at the final whistle there is likely to be a tentative third toast offered – to Tusk’s return as prime minister and the end of Poland’s disastrous flirtation with a populism that has ploughed deep divisions in society, undermined democratic institutions and driven a wedge between Warsaw and the EU.

Tusk’s return after eight years of rule by the Law & Justice party (PiS) will be a moment of satisfaction for those raising a glass of vodka in Gdańsk; many of those playing have supported him since his time as a student organiser working with the anti-communist Solidarity movement that emerged from strikes at the local shipyards. But they will also recognise that Tusk’s second coming is far from guaranteed to succeed; communism did fall in Poland, but the performance of Lechia Gdańsk never did match the passion of its fans.

Today, a day after parliament voted in favour of making him prime minister, Tusk will present his government, an ungainly coalition of his Civic Coalition group with the agrarian conservative Third Way party and the New Left.

Although he will once again gain access to Willa Parkowa, a handsome whitewashed official residence a few hundred yards from the chancellery in Warsaw, his friends say they expect him to spend as much time as possible in his family’s modest ground-floor apartment in Sopot, a prosperous city on Poland’s Baltic coast, just north of the larger Gdańsk.

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‘True friend’: Varadkar congratulates Tusk

Irish leader Leo Varadkar has congratulated Donald Tusk, after the Polish parliament voted in favour of the longtime politician becoming prime minister.

“You were a true friend and ally to Ireland during Brexit,” Varadkar said.

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