Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 02:04:38 PM EST
Promoted by Jerome. Go see Marek's earlier diary and thread for a good introduction to the Polish political scene.
About thirty million Poles are eligible to vote today. The last week of the campaign was characterized by attacks by PiS on the PO's ultra-liberal economic program and appeals to the extreme right. In the last couple days the PO counterattacked by slamming PiS over its ties to the radicals. Both are seeking the floating former SLD voters. In the first case appealing to their fear of right wing economic policies, in the latter their hatred for the extreme right. Recent polls have been very volatile with all showing last weeks massive PO lead shrinking, and at least one putting PiS ahead of the PO.
[Update] PiS (hard right) wins , PO (center-right) second, SLD a distant third (incumbents), LPR and Samoobrona (extremist parties) tied just behind the SLD, PSL (patronage/peasant party) just makes it into parliament.
We'll see what the results are very soon. But over the last week the campaign turned on the question of what scares swing voters more - neo-liberalism or the extreme right. Did the PiS launch their attack on the PO a couple days too early, allowing it time to counterattack? Just how badly will the SLD electoral debacle be? Some polls show it at above ten percent, others failing to make it into parliament altogether. In other notable last week news, Poland's probable new leaders have stated that they will scrap PM Marek Belka's plan to withdraw Polish troops from Iraq. Not a popular position, but unlike in Western European countries, the Iraq war is so far down the list of voters' concerns as to make it politically irrelevant.
In stuff to look for after over the next few weeks:
Will the vicious tit for tat last minute campaigning make it difficult for the PO and PiS to form a government?
Who gets the Foreign Ministry? The PiS is promising to take it so as to safeguard Polish national interests from potential betrayal by those cosmopolitan traitors of the PO. The PO is saying no way, we can't let those out of control crazies do lasting damage to Poland's relationships with the EU.
What effect, if any, will the parliamentary election results have on the Oct 9 presidential contest? Currently the PO candidate has a massive lead, some analysts are suggesting that if the PO were to win big, the PiS candidate might get a boost from a public wary of giving to much power to the PO.
I'll post results and analysis as it comes in.