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Poland’s local elections serve as a test for Tusk’s new government after 4 months in power

Warsaw, Poland- April 7, (AP): Voters across Poland are participating in local elections Sunday, marking the first electoral challenge for Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s coalition government nearly four months since taking office.

The elections will determine mayors, municipal council members, and provincial assembly representatives, crucial components of Poland’s self-governance system, which emerged from the country’s democratic transformation following the end of communism 35 years ago.

With nearly 190,000 registered candidates vying for local government positions in the nation of 38 million people, the electoral process is extensive. Runoff votes are scheduled for April 21 if mayoral candidates fail to secure at least 50% of the vote in the initial round.

Pre-election opinion polls indicated a close contest between Tusk’s Civic Coalition, led by his centrist and pro-European Union Civic Platform party, and Law and Justice, a national conservative party previously in power from 2015 until last year. Other political groups such as the Third Way coalition, the Left, and the radical right-wing Confederation party are also competing.

Tusk’s coalition government, which includes the Third Way and the Left, emerged victorious in the national election in October, ending Law and Justice’s eight-year rule amid record voter turnout. Tusk pledged to reverse many of Law and Justice’s policies, particularly concerning judicial reform and media control, actions criticized by the European Union for violating democratic standards.

Implementing these changes remains challenging for Tusk, particularly regarding judicial independence, which requires the passage of new legislation and is expected to be a lengthy process.

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