Leading article: Conflict, restraint and a fresh start

Share

The leader of Poland's Civic Platform party, Donald Tusk, says that he is well on the way to concluding a coalition deal with the Peasants Party. By the recent post-electoral standards of Central and Eastern Europe, this is impressive progress. It testifies both to the clarity of Civic Platform's victory on 21 October and to Mr Tusk's determination to start governing. And it augurs well for Poland, for its friends abroad and for its partners in the European Union.

The tentative Cabinet line-up is also promising, including as it does a quotient of well-qualified professionals who favour speeding up economic reforms and Poland's full participation in the European Union. Both the finance minister designate, Jacek Rostowski, and the favourite for foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, combine expertise and energy. They also share a commitment to establish Poland as a cooperative member of the EU, rather than the one-country awkward squad it has too often been. Add Mr Tusk's undertaking to withdraw Poland's 900 troop contingent from Iraq before the end of next year, and the extent of Poland's likely policy reorientation is evident.

Along with his concern to get down to the task of governing, Mr Tusk is also showing a wise degree of restraint. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the defeated Prime Minister and twin brother of the President, is not due to step down until 5 November. President Lech Kaczynski then has two weeks to nominate a new Prime Minister. By rights, he should call immediately on Mr Tusk. But there have been signs that he might manoeuvre to stave off the appointment of a new government, leaving Poland in an awkward limbo.

The President has already signalled a potentially major area of conflict with Mr Tusk, reiterating his opposition to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – one of the documents that replaces the aborted constitutional treaty. The Kaczynski twins feared that it could pave the way for German claims to property in Poland. They also felt that it could undermine Poland's national identity, and – like Britain – secured an opt-out. Mr Tusk's Civic Platform, however, would like to sign up, as part of returning Poland to the EU mainstream. President Kaczynski could stymie that by blocking high-level military and diplomatic appointments.

We hope that he resists this temptation. The "cohabitation" to come may not be comfortable. But Donald Tusk and his Civic Platform party won the election fair and square, on a near record turn-out of 80 per cent. If they can clinch a parliamentary majority in coalition with the Peasants Party, they should be given the chance to govern.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before