Polish lawmakers will vote Tuesday on the proposed new government of Donald Tusk, whose pro-EU administration is expected to garner enough support to put an end to eight years of right-wing populist rule.
The lower house of parliament, which is controlled by Tusk's multi-party alliance, will hold the confidence vote after the veteran politician and former EU chief presents his programme.
The Tusk cabinet could be sworn in as early as Wednesday, allowing him to travel to Brussels for an EU summit on Thursday and Friday as the new prime minister.
Tusk, who previously served as prime minister from 2007 to 2014 and was president of the European Council from 2014 to 2019, 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.
He has also said he will restore Poland's credibility in the EU and give it an important voice amid the ongoing war in neighbouring Ukraine.
Both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent their "congratulations" to Tusk on X.
Freedom hero and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa said he was "happy that Poland is back on the path of development".
Describing the right-wing administration as years of "darkness," Tusk said Monday that "starting tomorrow we will be able to right all of the wrongs".
His arch nemesis Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS), fired back by accusing Tusk of being a "German agent" and rued "the end of democracy".
The confidence vote comes on the heels of the PiS party's failure to form a government of their own for lack of viable coalition partners.
The conservatives won the most seats in October's general election but failed to win a majority. Still, PiS prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki was given the first crack at forming a new government and his proposed cabinet failed to muster enough backing in parliament Monday.
- 'Going through mud' -
While Tusk's Civic Coalition came second in the ballot, it secured a majority by joining up with two smaller pro-EU opposition political groups, the Third Way and Left.
Expectations for the new government are running high but the populists will remain very influential and have appointed allies to key posts during their time in power.
The next government will face daily battles with PiS which "will continue to fight", Jaroslaw Kuisz, a political analyst, told AFP. "There won't be any miracles."
"It will be like going through mud" and quick change will be difficult because PiS has left "a judicial minefield", he said.
Controversial judicial reforms and appointments, 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 in several important judicial and financial state institutions.
Many observers also believe the constitutional tribunal is under the conservative camp's political control.
The court ruled Monday that EU fines imposed for non-compliance with provisional European court decisions were unconstitutional.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the outgoing government, is due to step down ahead of a presidential election in 2025 but he could use blocking tactics between now and then, vetoing legislation.
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