Donald Tusk beat Poland’s populists. Now Europe is looking to him for a blueprint


Donald Tusk, the long-time-leader of the opposition Civic Platform party in Poland, has emerged as the victor of Poland’s 2015 election, defeating the party of the nation’s populist ruling Law and Justice party, and ushering in a period of opposition-led government which has been praised by many within the European Union.

Tusk’s message of liberal reform, economic growth, and greater European solidarity stands in sharp contrast to the more isolationist, protectionist approach of the Law and Justice Party, who sought to place Poland at the center of a Eurosceptic bloc of nations resisting European integration.

Tusk’s successful election strategy focused on connecting with the everyday experiences of average Poles, by embracing a more open, progressive message of responsible economic stewardship that appealed to the electorate beyond the traditional base of support of the Civic Platform.

As a leader of the new Polish government, Tusk has been heralded across Europe as a potential blueprint for other liberal-led governments to follow, as many countries grapple with a populist surge in recent years. His success in driving electoral reforms, promoting economic growth, and drawing Poland closer into the European Union has made him a beacon of hope for many within the EU.

With Poland’s historic election, Tusk has shown the EU how an opposition party can be successful in turning back an authoritarian tide, and provided the continent with a model for political renewal based on progressive, liberal values.

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