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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » February 4, 2010
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From the Editor-in-Chief
February 4, 2010   
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To the surprise of most political analysts, Prime Minister Donald Tusk Jan. 28 said he would not run in this year's presidential elections but stay on instead as head of the government.

"The government has to be like a rock," Tusk said, adding that he needs the means to effectively exercise power in the country and make sure that Poland catches up with Europe's most developed countries. "I need to be efficient and strong to carry out this plan," Tusk said. "This scenario, good for Poland, requires my presence in the government and the Civic Platform."

The presidency gives prestige, but not real power under the Polish constitution, Tusk added.

The division of power between the prime minister and the president as set down in the constitution leaves no doubt as to who is in the driving seat in Poland. The prime minister is responsible for the policy of the government and the state, and his decisions are of key importance to the course of affairs in Poland and the state of society.

Voters supported Tusk and his Civic Platform (PO) party in the 2007 parliamentary elections because they were convinced that these people would do a better job governing the country than their predecessors. You don't change horses mid-stream: if Tusk suddenly decided that he is quitting as prime minister because he prefers to move to the presidential palace, that could deal a serious blow to his prestige as a politician and harm his party.

Analysts and commentators will find many other reasons justifying Tusk's decision, just like previously they found plenty of arguments supposedly proving why Tusk was sure to run for the presidency.

In my view, which I have held for quite some time, Tusk's decision is logical, rational and simply right. It will calm the public mood and, hopefully, make the presidential campaign less devastating for Polish politics-without a standoff between Tusk and the incumbent Lech Kaczyński.

The question of who will be the PO's candidate for president remains open now that Tusk has dropped out. Potential contenders include Sejm Speaker Bronisław Komorowski and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. But I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them was put forward and Tusk chose someone from outside the PO's leadership.
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