09:07 GMT28 November 2020
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    Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has reportedly made inquiries as to whether EU leaders would support replacing current European Council President Donald Tusk with Polish diplomat and longstanding politician Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.

    Beata Szydlo, prime minister and member of Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party, is, according to reports, seeking to undermine the candidacy of Donald Tusk as EU president for another two-and-half year term, just 10 days before the election date.

    According to media reports, Szydlo privately spoke with various EU leaders about replacing Tusk with another Polish candidate, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a current member of the European Parliament, as revealed by two unnamed EU diplomats who claim to have knowledge of the move.

    No official proposal has been made, but the development is believed to be likely. If that is the case, the long standoff between Tusk and Polish Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski will become official.

    According to media reports, an official proposal to offer Saryusz-Wolski as a competing candidate to run against Tusk would be the only way to stop Tusk from automatically being re-elected for an additional term, as he enjoys the support of EU member states.

    The standoff between Tusk and Kaczynski revolves around their different views on the degree of autonomy that should allowed to EU-member states. According to Kaczynski, Tusk seeks to strip national governments of power in favor of the EU, with the European Union impeding national policies, including immigration.

    Earlier in February, Jaroslaw Kaczynski lashed out at Tusk in a radio interview, saying that it was "not in Poland's interest" for "someone like that" to sit as president.

    Referring to a settlement plan backed by Tusk, that EU member states should be fined for failing to accept refugees, Kaczynski said that if Poland had not helped to block the move, the country would have received a 3-billion-euro fine.

    Those in Brussels closely tracking the election process observe that the surprise nomination of Saryusz-Wolski would make Poland's opposition to Tusk's continued presidency official.

    Donald Tusk assumed office in December 2014 and his term will end May 31 of this year. Saryusz-Wolski, who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004, is a member of Tusk's Civic Platform party, and has sought to build closer ties with the Law and Justice party since it came to power in Poland.

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    Tags:
    Politics, candidate, Election, Law and Justice Party (Poland), European Council, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Beata Szydlo, Donald Tusk, Poland, EU
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