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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Varsovie s’appuie sur l’extrême droite

by By P. F.

Poland shifts to political right

Translated by Carol

Translated Friday 10 February 2006, by Carol Gullidge

Warsaw sees a dramatic shift to the right as the minority Polish government takes populists and the extreme right on board in a bid to avoid early elections.

Warsaw is swinging towards the extreme right as conservatives in Poland join forces with ultra-catholics and populists. Six years after general outrage at the entry of the extreme right into the Austrian government, it is with universal silence that Europe has greeted the Polish conservatives’ decision to join ranks with two of the country’s “ultra” groups. Yet the radical catholicism of the League of Polish Families (LPR) and the xenophobic populism of the Self-defence of the Republic of Poland party (Samoobrona) might well provide EU leaders with cause for alarm. The two groupings that have agreed to support - but not participate in - the Marcinkiewicz government are fiercely anti-European, promoting a hardening of Poland’s religious as much as its nationalist “values”. Both parties are past masters at anti-semitic and racist blunders.

On the economic level, their leaders are exploiting the resentment harboured by the majority of the population towards multinationals - accused, often rightly, of maximising profit to the detriment of employment - to demand the closing of the frontier to German and French companies. It remains to be seen to what extent the conservative party (PIS) will be able to reconcile the ideology of its allies with the need to attract investors in a bid to combat widespread unemployment.

What the three parties are agreed on, however, is in embarking on a “grand purge of the State”, meaning the last vestiges of the communist era. Barely out of wraps, the alliance of the right has already raised an outcry by limiting media coverage to a single press group: the owner of Radio Maryja, amongst others. So conservative and so xenophobic is this Catholic radio station that the Vatican has just advised the Polish clergy to keep its distance.

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