Polish lawmakers gathered on Monday for a session during which former European Council president Donald Tusk is expected to be tapped to form a new government in the country ruled for the last eight years by right-wing populists.

Three pro-EU opposition parties won a majority in a parliamentary vote on Oct. 15 on pledges that included mending strained ties with the European Union and carrying out liberal reforms.

"Dec. 11 in the parliament... will be an epochal moment in the history of Poland," the lower chamber's speaker Szymon Holownia of the liberal Third Way party said Monday.

But President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the outgoing government, entrusted the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party with first attempt to form a government led by outgoing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.


Presenting his general programme in the parliament on Monday -- in the presence of notably the anti-communist icon Lech Walesa -- Morawiecki said he was sure that the "project" PiS had for Poland "must win and will win".

"Maybe not yet today, not in this chamber," Morawiecki conceded, referring to a confidence vote scheduled for the afternoon that he is set to lose.

If his government does not win enough support, lawmakers will nominate a new candidate for prime minister and are set to name Tusk, a former premier and the Civic Coalition bloc leader.

Civic Coalition along with the Third Way and Left parties control 248 seats out of 460 in parliament.

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The Polish military also views the free eight-hour training sessions as an opportunity to spark interest among potential recruits.

The PiS nationalists came first in the elections, winning 194 seats, but fell short of a majority.

Once nominated, Tusk is due on Tuesday to present his program to MPs who will then hold a confidence vote.

The Tusk cabinet could be sworn in on Wednesday, allowing him to travel to Brussels for an EU summit on Thursday and Friday as the new prime minister.

Tusk has promised to unblock billions of euros in EU aid that have been frozen because of long-standing tensions between Brussels and the outgoing government.


The former prime minister has also said he will restore Poland's credibility in the EU and give it an important voice amid the ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine.

- Enormous expectations -

Expectations for the new government are running high but the populists will remain very influential even in opposition and have appointed allies to key posts.

"There won't be any miracles" as the new government faces daily battles with PiS which "will continue to fight", Jaroslaw Kuisz, a political analyst, told AFP.

"It will be like going through mud" and quick change is unlikely as PiS leaves "a judicial minefield", he said.

Controversial reforms of the judiciary which the EU said undermined democratic values were at the heart of tensions between PiS ministers and Brussels.

PiS still has allies in the presidency, the central bank and the supreme court, as well as several important judicial and financial state institutions.

It also dominates state media organizations, which have become a government mouthpiece during its rule.

Analysts speak of a "spider's web" woven by PiS by putting allies in influential roles with mandates that will last long into the new government's tenure.

Duda is due to step down ahead of a presidential election in 2025 but he could use blocking tactics between now and then, vetoing legislation.


The head of state gave an insight into his intentions with his nomination for Morawiecki to head the government, giving PiS two more months in power.

Tusk on Friday said PiS has spent its last few weeks in power "wreaking havoc, destroying the Polish state".

Analyst Kuisz said the party has used the time "to reinforce itself institutionally and financially".

PiS has named two former ministers to head up important state financial institutions and new prosecutors.

The president has also approved 150 new judges nominated by a body that was criticized by the European Union as being too heavily influenced by PiS.

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