Poland’s parliament voted in favour of Donald Tusk becoming prime minister on Monday, putting an end to eight years of nationalist rule and setting the stage for a thawing of relations with the European Union.
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Poland has seen tens of billions of euros of European Union funds frozen due to a dispute with Brussels over democratic standards, but Tusk, a former European Council president, has vowed to mend relations and unblock the cash.
248 were in favour of Tusk becoming prime minister and 201 were against.
“He gave up the comfortable life he could have had after being president of the European Council and came back… to fight for the victory of democracy, decency and justice,” said Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the Polish Peasants’ Party (PSL), which forms part of the coalition Tusk leads.
Earlier in the day former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party lost a vote of confidence.
Critics say PiS undermined judicial independence, turned state-owned media into a propaganda outlet and fomented prejudice against minorities such as immigrants and the LGBT community.
PiS says that it defended Poland’s sovereignty and traditions from foreign interference during its time in power, while improving living standards for millions of Poles by introducing social benefits and raising the minimum wage.
Tusk will give a speech to parliament on Tuesday laying out his government’s plans.
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