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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » December 2, 2009
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From the Editor-in-Chief
December 2, 2009   
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Donald Tusk summed up his government's self-assessment after two years in office by calling for profound system changes. The president would be weakened by losing some of his prerogatives (like the right of veto) and would be elected not by voters but by the National Assembly (the lower and upper houses of parliament together), the prime minister's powers would be strengthened, parliament downsized, the election law changed. All this would take place at lightning speed, in time for the presidential election next fall. In order to pass, the package of proposals needs 307 votes in the lower house, which means the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party would have to support the changes.

Despite public opinion being tired of the everlasting conflict between Prime Minister Tusk, leader of the Civic Platform (PO), and President Lech Kaczyński, who clearly favors PiS, reactions have been moderate. According to the latest survey for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, 89 percent of the public want the president to be elected in a direct election, 57 percent don't want the constitution amended, 21 percent support more powers for the prime minister, and 9 percent want a stronger president.

This triggering of a debate on fundamental changes to Poland's political system means taking on a really important issue. Keeping quiet only means things won't change. But you also have to notice the short-term aspects of the prime minister's proposals. This consists in always being the initiator in pointing out matters worthy of public attention and therefore dominating public discussion. It also seems to hint that the government would do much more if it weren't for existing limitations. Finally, it is an interesting overture to Donald Tusk's decision on whether to run for president.
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