Polish PM Starts Party Elections to Shore Up Support

Poland’s ruling Civic Platform party backed a plan to start picking its chairman in direct elections to combat an erosion in voter support.

Civic Platform agreed to amend its bylaws at its national convention in Chorzow, Poland, today to allow all 43,000 members to elect their leader, according to its website. Prior to the decision, only regional representatives could pick the party’s leadership.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who has headed Civic Platform since 2003 and whose term ends next year, said on May 24 that early elections would “end internal campaigning within the party and focus on the country’s problems.”

Approval ratings for Civic Platform last month dropped behind those of the opposition party Law & Justice in CBOS polls for the first time since September 2007. The gap widened further this month as Civic Platform trailed its main opponent 23 percent to 27 percent.

Tusk, who is seeking reappointment as party chairman, will compete against Jaroslaw Gowin, a former justice minister.

Civic Platform members will choose their leader in the next two months and the result will be announced in late August. The party has 206 deputies in the 460-seat lower chamber of parliament and runs a majority government with the Peasant’s Party.

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