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New candidate for the presidential elections

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Magdalena Ogoreck, candidate for the presidential elections: a blessing or a curse for the Polish Left?
Source: flick

Magdalena Ogoreck: Helle Thorning of Poland

Chajdukowski Michał | translated by: Reeta NIEMONEN | 2015. January 30. 14:20

The new candidate represents a good alternative: even if she does not win, she will advance the Polish Left.

It is not only beauty and hair colour that Magdalena Ogoreck has in common with the Danish Prime minister, Helle Thorning. They are both young, dynamic and competent. Thorning has already led her Social Democrats to success in Danish politics, and now the whole Polish Left is looking at Magdalena Ogorek, waiting for her to do the same.

*Importance of the political background

It’s true that the Polish president, in a semi-parliamentary system, does not determine the politics of the country (which on the other hand is the case in France, for example). However, presidential elections - universal, direct polls consisting of two rounds - have a higher voter turnout than parliamentary elections in general. Also, this year the presidential election takes place only a couple of months before the Parliamentary ones. As a consequence, political parties consider it as a start of their campaigns, therefore which are going to be more intense. Looking back at the last 20 years of Polish democracy, each time when presidential elections took place shortly before MPs were elected, the election of the President correlated with the victory of his party. This explains why parties focus so much on the upcoming elections. According to the surveys, the major battle will be fought between two candidates: the incumbent president, Bronislaw Komorowski (who even has a possibility to win in the first round), and a candidate of the conservative party Law and Justice, Andrzej Duda. As the political scene is polarized, some of the voters are disappointed by their options and are willing to look for new alternatives. Enter Magdalena Ogorek, who is supported by the Democratic Left Alliance and its leader, Leszek Miller.

*A competent candidate

The fact that until now Magdalena Ogorek has not been among the major political leaders of Poland is, paradoxically, her strength. Not only is she a new face, but also very well prepared when it comes to academics (she has, among other things, finalized her thematic studies in the University of Maastricht), fluent in English (which is still unusual in the Polish political scene), and very experienced. Indeed, she has worked in the government administration and also for the Left in the previous elections. Moreover, she knows how to act in front of cameras, a skill she learned during her years as a newscaster: she gives a calm and controlled impression of herself. She is an expert on relations between the Catholic Church and the State. She does not use the strong anticlerical rhetoric, unlike certain politicians of the Left who support the basic idea of the separation of Church and State. This choice is very intelligent, although it is a little dangerous as a political step. In Poland, anticlerical ideas attract only little popularity, as the Catholic Church has maintained its influence. That way, the candidate can present her openness for the new voters and also her credibility as a president for all.

*A woman who wants to modernize the Left

Finally, being a woman is probably the biggest strength of Ogorek. In a country where women have more and more visibility and influence and since Polish women are amongst the most enterprising in Europe, a female candidate that stands for cutting taxes can appeal to a wide electorate. Magdalena Ogorek is also new for the Left and has new ideas about the Left, including reforming legislation to make it more favourable for firms as well as strengthening the government's support for the young people to prevent them from leaving the country… And at the same time, she blames the incumbent President for his inactivity.

Now, everything depends on her campaign. But regardless of the result, one thing is for sure: Magdalena Ogorek herself or her party are not going to loose anything. On the other hand, they can win a lot. In case she will not win the presidential elections, she can still facilitate the consolidation of the Left, and she could achieve good results in the next elections. In the end, as the example of the Danish Prime minister, Helle Thorning shows, it is not necessary to win the elections in order to form a government and become a Prime Minister.

Magdalena Ogorek: a candidate lacking credibility

Martyna STYSLO | translated by: Benjamin Despretz | 2015. February 01. 00:00

From the very beginning, her candidacy was more than suprising. Magdalena Ogorek became very popular, out of nowhere, not only in Polish but also in the international press. Her success however is due to her personal charm and to the fact that the Polish political scene hasn’t seen a young left-wing candidate in a long time. She is anything but a credible candidate.

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) is in real trouble. After doing poorly in the last few years, many would expect from their leader, Leszek Miller (former Prime Minister between 2001 and 2004), to step down and let somebody else, without a communist past, rebuild the party. Miller decided instead to dismiss other charismatic members and autocratically proclaimed that Ms. Ogorek will be the SLD’s candidate in the presidential elections.

*An inexperienced candidate

It is true that this office is rather representative and that the President is aided by many advisors, while observing closely political decision-making in the country. But what is expected from a person who is Head of state? Charisma, experience, leadership skills and the ability to represent 40 million citizens – a mass of different social groups.

Unfortunately it seems like Ms. Ogórek has nor her own vision nor anyone who could help her build her political career. It is very telling that she is not allowed to answer any questions from journalists and that she only had two formal appearances. Each time she came with a prepared speech on a sheet of paper. Fortunately, Miller can always list her experience for her: she worked at the President’s chancellery, ministries‘ offices and held an "expert" position in a national bank. After just a little research it turned out that most positions were short unpaid internships. Which means that she was never in charge of making any important decisions. The most ridiculous was her last job in the Central Bank (yes, the "expert" one). There, Ms Ogorek was a member of the education department that was producing short films about the history of money. Nevertheless Mr Miller is constantly talking about her unbelievable career path.

Fortunately, she is not only beautiful and experienced but she also has a Ph.D. Diploma. It does not matter that she received it from a second-rate university, or that it her topic was the history of Church, nor that her two publications were crushed by reviewers in scientific journals (four years ago, no political context). Of course an aspirating young woman who might not be as experienced as our charming 'old boys' should not be stopped from holding a political position. But can we accept a candidacy based on lies?

*An inconsistent candidate

Assuming that personal issues are not so important, let’s take a closer look at her political program. First, from the very beginning, Ms Ogorek presented herself as the voice of young people. She doesn’t want to let them go abroad and as she said "we will teach the youth that it is worth taking a risk". Sounds rather like a survival-camp advertisement, but maybe that’s what young generations need – a risky life. Second, she wants to create a special legislative commission, which would "rewrite law from the beginning". The reason? Many people do not understand complex paragraphs, so there is an essential need to rewrite everything. We would rather expect from a President improvements on the executive level but Ms Ogorek prefers to concentrate on competences of the Parliament. Good luck with that. Last but not least, the reform of the Polish economy. Just as a little reminder, Ms Ogorek is representing Plonad's most visible left-wing party. However, taking a break from her political party's agenda, she announced that high taxes are the biggest trouble today. Ms Ogorek wants to represent entrepreneurs and cut the costs of hiring employees. So instead of improving the quality of life of the poorest group of people, she chose to cut unemployment rate, a populist measure. The inconsistency and randomness of her plans show that both her vision and her abilities to execute them are very poor.

*An unnecessary candidate

Is it a joke or a sign of desperation? Many observators highlight that the upcoming presidential campaign is just a rehearsal for the parliamentary elections, which will be taking place 5 months later. It is almost sure that incumbent President, Bronslaw Komorowski, will keep his office for a second term. And because coalition building will start soon in the Parliament, anyone who wishes to join his party's, the Civic Platform's side, is afraid to present a serious opponent. Seems like SLD and Leszek Miller have the same plan. It is a pity though that her candidacy, which cannot be taken seriously, will have long term consequences. The glass celling for young women activists won’t disappear faster.

* 

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

The state of votes

66%
34%

Magdalena Ogoreck: Helle Thorning of Poland

Chajdukowski Michał|translated by: Reeta NIEMONEN

Magdalena Ogorek: a candidate lacking credibility

Martyna STYSLO| translated by: Benjamin Despretz

2 Comments

Karol from Poland
2015. 02. 18. 17:03
joke
Karol from Poland
2015. 02. 18. 17:02
I'm sorry for our blondie-jok of Miller, answer to crimean Nyasha

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