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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’incertitude polonaise

by Damien Roustel

The Polish Uncertainty : the Kaczynski Brothers Hold Early Elections

Translated Saturday 10 November 2007, by Henry Crapo

The Kaczynski brothers organize early elections for October. This decision may put the brakes on the conclusion of an agreement concerning the European treaty.

It’s a risky bet. At a time when they aren’t doing well in the polls, the twin brothers Kaczynski, who double up as president of the republic and as prime minister, have decided, since they lack a stable majority to govern, to call an early election. The legislative elections will take place on the 21st of October. [1]

Since the departure from the government this summer of the populists in the Self-defense Party and of the extremists in the League of Polish Families (LPR), the two leaders of the conservative party Law and Justice (PIS) have been incapable of governing alone. If you are to believe the first polls, these elections will be won or lost on the right, as they were two years ago. The liberals of the Civic Platform (PO) and the group led by the brothers Kaczynski are fighting for first place, well ahead of the left opposition, which is still shattered. A study published on Saturday gives the liberals with Donald Tusk an advance of 5 percentage points over the PIS, with 30% intended votes against 25%. Credited with 12%, the left center coalition (LID) led by former president Aleksander Kwasniewski would be the only other political formation likely to get into Parliament.

As in 2005, the brothers Kaczynski will make the battle against corruption and a return to moral values the principal themes of their campaign. There is a strong likelihood that they will make the European Union in general, and Germany in particular, their scapegoats. On the other side of the debate, the liberal party blames the twins for having ruined the image of Poland overseas, of having isolated the nation from other members of the European Union, by assuming the role of "the bad bedfellows" of Europe.

"The results will be very close to those of two years ago", predicts political scientist Lena Kolarska-Bobinska. In September 2005 the PIS obtained 26.99% of the votes, compared with 24.14% for the Civic Platform. Contrary to all expectations, the twin brothers decided not to form a coalition with the liberals. No party being in a position to obtain an absolute majority, the question of alliances will once again be at the center of the debate. "A coalition of conservatives and liberals, with Kaczynski, is out of the question, affirms Lena Kolarska-Bobinska. The liberals will have no alternative but to turn toward the left opposition.

[1Translator’s note: This note, published on 10 September, was pertinent to two major articles (and) concerning maneuvers to impose a "modified" European constitution. My apologies for the long delay.

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