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Have the tables turned in Poland?

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The newest polls made by OBOP show that the leading opposition party, the Law and Justice, dominates the government party, the Civic Platform (PO). Does this poll show a new tendency in Polish politics, or is it but a momentary change of mood, of Polish voters? Have the tables turned in Poland?
Source: flickr

The stable position of Tusk’s government

Krzysztof Zaremba | translated by: Krzysztof Zaremba | 2012. June 22. 19:59

The government of Civic Platform will remain unchanged. The only party which would have the possibility to challenge it is now unable to construct a new coalition.

The recent events on the Polish political scene have challenged the long-time predominant position of Platforma Obywatelska, Civic Platform (PO). Numerous difficult reforms and a financial affair involving the son of Prime Minister Donald Tusk have contributed to the decrease of popularity of the governing party. Recently published polls indicate the dramatic change in public opinion – as much as 40% of citizens would vote for the party ‘Law and Justice’, against only 35% who want to support Civic Platform. Contrary to the popularity polls, the government will not be replaced any time soon, as the majority of deputies gave it the green light in the vote of confidence which took place on October 12th.

*The experience of economic growth

Reelected in 2011, the Civic Platform assured stability for Polish citizens. Thus what is expected in the upcoming elections in 2015 is that the average Pole is going to vote for the governing party, instead of voting for revolutionary ideas presented by Law and Justice. The growth experienced by Poland, even during the crisis, created the positive image of Civic Platform among the electorate. Moreover, this party benefited strongly from the success of the European Championship in Football Euro 2012 organized in Poland and in Ukraine, and from Polish presidency in the Council of European Union. Less popular, but the still necessary pension reform extending the time of work to 67 years was widely appreciated by independent experts. Conformingly to the principles of social psychology, a commonly accepted authority will allow to progressively persuade people about the utility of reforms. Therefore, all this legislative and organizational success of the Polish government will help it maintain its citizens’ support.

*Reforms are coming

In the exposé preceding the vote of confidence, Donald Tusk presented the program of the new reforms which are supposed to rebuild the confidence. Indeed, the multidimensional plan of economic and demographic development had a positive repercussion in media. Despite of technical language, projected visions are able to seduce many citizens. On the one hand, the Prime Minister promised to continue the deregulation of professions. Furthermore, investments in new energy projects and in infrastructure are planned. On the other hand, Donald Tusk wants to launch a campaign of reforms searching for an accelerator to demographic growth. The prolongation of the paid family leave concluded from this reform would be especially attractive for young families.

*Guess who is going to be the next prime minister!

During the manifestation entitled “Poland, wake up!” the leader of the main opposition party, Jarosław Kaczyński, announced the plan of the vote of constructive no-confidence. This procedure includes the proposition of a new prime minister who would replace the leaving one. Kaczyński postponed the moment of publication of the name of his candidate in order to let the media speculating about the potential successor of Donald Tusk. Finally, he revealed it would be an independent expert; namely professor Piotr Gliński, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. However, other parties, largely left-wings, refused the proposition of Law and Justice. Therefore, the party of Jarosław Kaczyński has no chance to enter the government, because it does not have enough partners to create the coalition necessary to acquire the majority of votes in the parliament elections.

*Should they stay (at the opposition) or should they go (to the government)?

Recent surveys show clear predominance of Law and Justice. But this support expresses more the deception and opposition to the actual style of governing, than the real popularity of the opposition party. Other surveys indicate that the majority of Poles are reluctant to the concept of the IVth Republic promoted by the party of Jarosław Kaczyński. The latter still occupies the first place in the ranking of the most distrusted politician. Therefore, the actual mobilization of this party is not sufficient to make a revolution on the Polish political scene. Only a coalition with the left-wing party would allow overturning Tusk’s government. In this case, however, the enemies of their enemy are not their friends.

 

A new direction in Polish politics

Kornel Draszynski | translated by: Kornel Draszynski | 2012. June 22. 19:59

After the first year of its second term, the Civic Platform finds itself fractured and unable to present a clear vision of reforms. Henceforth, the Law and Justice Party gains in popularity as it tries to force a vote of no-confidence for the prime minister, which may ultimately lead to pre-term elections.

Up till now, the primer minister, Donald Tusk (Platforma Obywatelska, Civic Platform - PO), presented the fact, that Poland has not yet experienced a recession in the first wave of the financial crisis as the biggest success of his government. However, even though the economy is still growing, it slows down and is expected to grow at a mere 2.5% in the next year. Moreover, the golden basket in form of the European funds also seems to run low, as Germany tries to force a separate EU-zone exclusive budget, and the EU as a whole cuts withdraws its financial support.

*Unfulfilled promises

In spite of the gravity of the situation, the prime minister did not manage to perform virtually any reforms during his five years in power. On the contrary, the civic platform betrayed its voters. The promises of lower taxes proved to be but an empty slogan, as the government started to cover the growing budget whole. The same goes for the business-friendly reforms. (The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks Poland 116th in the world for overall efficiency of government, and 131st for the burden of governmental regulation (e.g. tax and labour laws on doing business). What is more, the Civic Platform of today does not present itself as a party of ideology, but a party of power. Its official economic liberalism finds little proof in form of PO’s recent actions. On the contrary, the way the government manages to spend public many by supporting public projects is corruption-generic in nature, as well as being but a step from a state interventionism.

*Lost security

Perhaps the most disturbing factor for any citizen is the growing feeling of insecurity. The inflation takes away the salary, effectively impoverishing the society. Moreover, drawing conclusion from the second policy speech of the prime minister the recent months seem to offer but further cuts and tax-rising. At the same time, though the economy grows, so does the unemployment, oscillating around 12%, which is a level unknown since the time the PO has won the elections in 2007. The health care suffers from terrible management, with their accumulated debt reaching 25 billion złotys (7 billion euros), and still growing.

*Time for change

It is only natural for the people to search an alternative to the government hey have no confidence in. It is also clear, that PiS, being the second largest party in the Sejm (136 seats, as opposed to PO’s 203), is the only opposition party having a real chance of winning, were pre-term elections to take place. Still, PiS and its leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, are known for being distrusted by other political parties. This time, however; the PO seems to loose allies and gain enemies, as its coalition, the Polish People’s Party meets with PiS representatives to discuss law projects, saying that cooperation with the opposition is possible. Still, nothing can be said for certain, since the vote of no confidence attempted by PiS is almost sure to fail in the parliament. However, knowing that all determinism in the newest history of Poland failed, the possibility of PO losing its grip on power exists.

 

 

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

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The stable position of Tusk’s government

Krzysztof Zaremba|translated by: Krzysztof Zaremba

A new direction in Polish politics

Kornel Draszynski| translated by: Kornel Draszynski

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