Donald Tusk's opposition Civic Platform holds Million Heart March in Warsaw
Two weeks ahead of the parliamentary election, a large street rally organized by the Civic Coalition has gathered supporters of the liberal-democratic and centrist opposition in the Polish capital on October 1, 2023
The Civic Coalition currently includes the Civic Platform party of former Prime Minister and former President of the European Council (Brussels) Donald Tusk, which is the headliner of today's event, as well as Nowoczesna, Polish Initiative, and the Green Party.
"The impossible has become possible. When I see these hearts, when I see these hundreds of thousands of smiling faces, I feel that a turning point in the history of our homeland is coming," Tusk said at the beginning of the march, PolsatNews reported.
"Some people today, a few, fled the capital. They did not want to see you," he commented, alluding to the congress held in Katowice by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) national democratic party, which currently holds its own president, government, and parliamentary majority in the lower house of parliament. PiS's efforts to exert control over the judiciary led to widespread protests.
"All of Poland is here today. Today the whole world is looking at Warsaw. Today you all have the right to be proud again," Donald Tusk emphasized.
Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski: "We want a Poland where you decide how to live"
At the beginning of the march, the mayor of the Polish capital took the floor. He spoke about why it is worth going to the polls.
"I am often asked whether it is worth going to vote. I answer yes. We must go to the polls to build a different Poland that will give us freedom. Freedom from the government that interferes in our lives," emphasized Rafał Trzaskowski.
"People often ask the question, who should we vote for? For children, for future generations. So that these children never have to watch their mothers being beaten with truncheons again. For children with disabilities to never have to watch their mothers being pushed around. So that children with rainbow bags are not attacked," said Trzaskowski, referring to the current conservative government's rejection of some social movements, including feminists and LGBTQ+.
"We want a European Poland... We want a Poland where uniforms are respected and the police and army protect citizens, not the government. A Poland where women make decisions about their lives and health. In which there is no place for (Catholic - ed.) indoctrination in schools. Where the church does not interfere in politics. We want a Poland where you decide for yourself how to live," Trzaskowski summarized.
Donald Tusk: "I want to promise you the end of the Polish-Polish war the day after the elections"
In the final speech of the march, on the ring named in honor of the Home Army unit Radosław, Tusk called the current parliamentary campaign "the third wave of Solidarity."
In fact, the Civic Coalition pays great attention to getting their voters to the polls during its campaign.
Another election thesis put forth by the opposition is that their victory would lead to the unification of Polish society and put an end to internal divisions rooted in the acceptance or rejection of Law and Justice party values.
"For these 8 years, they (the government represented by PiS - ed.) have been working to ensure that there is no Poland and Poles, but many small, quarreling and offended communities. This is a whole textbook of hatred, what Kaczynski and his colleagues said about Poles. I won't quote it so as not to defile this meeting," Donald Tusk said.
In addition to the national flags of Poland, there were numerous European Union flags present, reflecting the recent cooling of relations between Poland and the EU, which the opposition pledges to restore to full cooperation.
Who and what Poles will vote for in two weeks
On October 15, Poles will elect members of both houses of their parliament - the upper (Senate) and lower (Sejm).
At the same time, a nationwide referendum initiated by Law and Justice will be held, with four questions on the ballot:
1. "Do you support the sale of state-owned enterprises?"
2. "Are you in favor of raising the retirement age to 60 for women and 65 for men?"
3. "Do you support the admission of thousands of illegal migrants from the Middle East and Africa, in accordance with the mechanism of forced resettlement imposed by the European bureaucracy?"
4. "Do you support the removal of the barrier on the border between the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Belarus?"
According to political analysts, the referendum and the preparations for it are being used by Law and Justice for election purposes.