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Poland’s newly elected PM Tusk faces protests amid constitutional crisis

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Prime Minister Donald Tusk is grappling with a significant political upheaval as ousted rival Jarosław Kaczyński leads protests, intensifying an ongoing constitutional crisis. Tusk’s government dismantled state-run media, alleging bias in favor of the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

People supporting right-wing opposition Law and Justice party attend 'Free Poles Protest' in front of parliament building in Warsaw, Poland on January 11, 2024. The previous government called people to demonstrate against new pro-EU government which dismissed executives from state media which served the right-wing Law and Justice Party during its eight years in power. Protestors also demonstrated against the arrest of Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Wasik, lawmakers for Law and Justice (PiS) party, sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of power in 2007, when they were in charge of the anti-corruption agency CBA. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto)NO USE FRANCE
Associated Press

The decision to replace media directors sparked accusations of illegality from PiS, further escalating tensions and triggering widespread protests.

Supporters of right-wing Law and Justice party protest before the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. Law and Justice, frustrated over its recent loss of power, urged its supporters to protest moves by the new pro-European Union government to take control of state media. It also said it was protesting the arrests Tuesday of two senior members of Law and Justice, former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his former deputy, Maciej Wasik. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Associated Press

The situation intensified with the imprisonment of two former ministers, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, convicted of abuse of power but later pardoned in 2015. This development fueled a “Free Poles” protest organized by PiS, framed as a defense of democracy and free media, despite previous criticisms of media freedom.

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Simultaneously, the protests align with a pivotal Supreme Court ruling on the validity of Poland’s December election. The outcome resulted in a power shift to Tusk’s Civic Platform Party.

Supporters of right-wing Law and Justice party that lost power in the October parliamentary elections protest the moves by the new pro-European Union government which has taken control of state media, in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, Jan 11, 2024. Law and Justice, frustrated over the loss of power is seeking to undermine the actions of the new government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Associated Press

As the nation grapples with these developments, the future political trajectory remains uncertain, with citizens and leaders closely watching the evolving situation.

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