Former Eurocrat Donald Tusk has been approved by a majority of lawmakers in the Polish Sejm to take over as the country’s prime minister, bringing an end to eight years of conservative rule in Poland.
In a crucial voting session late on Monday evening, the leader of the Civic Platform (PO) was endorsed by 248 parliamentarians to 201 with no abstentions. The decision came after the government of Mateusz Morawiecki lost a parliamentary vote of confidence earlier in the day.
Immediately following the vote, Donald Tusk addressed the nation to thank Polish voters for the “remarkable day”.
“It’s not just a victory for me but for all those who have believed through these long years that better times are ahead, that we will overcome the darkness,” he told viewers.
At the end of his speech, Tusk turned his attention to Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. He said that he owed this moment to his grandfathers, referencing past political attacks that accused him of having German allegiances.
Tusk mentioned an incident involving Jacek Kurski, a former PiS politician and later the head of the public television TVP, who in the 2005 presidential election campaign claimed Tusk’s grandfather served in the German Wehrmacht.
“Today, I also heard those ‘go to Berlin,’ ‘für Deutschland’. Every day, I heard these words on television. Every day, I heard that record made many, many years ago by Jacek Kurski. When he said that, your brother Lech Kaczyński publicly told me that the world has not seen such a scoundrel like Kurski, after what he did,” Tusk told Jarosław Kaczyński.
“My grandfathers were both railway workers in the Free City of Danzig. Both spent the war in concentration camps. When 90 percent of people fled the former Free City of Danzig, my grandfathers were among those who stayed,” he added.
Kaczyński then took the floor, questioning the procedural legitimacy of his turn to speak. He bluntly stated, “I don’t know who your grandfathers were, but I know one thing, you are a German agent. Simply a German agent.”
This accusation led to PiS deputies chanting “To Berlin!” at Tusk, shortly after having sung the Polish national anthem, adding to the intense and emotionally charged atmosphere of the parliamentary session.
Tusk could be sworn in by President Andrzej Duda as soon as Wednesday.