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Polish General Election Thread

by Migeru Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:03:03 AM EST

From the apparently sparse English-language coverage of the Polish general election so far...

Independent (IE): Voting begins in Polish general election (October 21 2007)

Poland is voting in its general election today.

The snap election called two years earlier than planned sees the current Law and Justice party government led by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski face stiff competition from the opposition Civic Platform.

Today's election follows allegations of corruption against the current government.

Update [2007-10-21 17:5:28 by DoDo]: Check comments for exit polls and results.


Wikipedia has a summary:

Parties will be competing for all 460 seats in the Sejm and all 100 seats in the Senate. The election will be a contest between the two largest parties, the ruling Law and Justice party and the largest opposition group, the Civic Platform, for first place, with the Left and Democrats coalition group likely to come in third. The other parties, most notably League of the Republic’s Right (formed from a coalition of the League of Polish Families, Real Politics Union and some other right-wing groups), the Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland and the Polish People's Party, will be fighting hard to overcome the 5% electoral threshold for election to the Sejm.

The Polish Twins and their Law and Justice (PiS) party seem to have worn down their welcome after only two years in office, and the Europhillic Neoliberals of the Civic Platform (PO) seem poised to win the election with overwhelming support from Poles abroad. Having led the opposition over the last two years, it doesn't look like there will be a PO-PiS government, which was expected after the 2005 election but didn't materialize.

Minor parties have formed coalitions in an attempt to get around the 5% threshold to get seats in parliament. In a refreshing new development since the 2005 election, the Social Liberals appear likely to be the third force, ahead of the right-wing social conservative coalition around League of Polish Families, Self-defence (Samoobrona) and the peasant Polish People's Party.

In a deeply conservative and Catholic country, the electoral campaign has been rocked by the Women's Party

[Torygraph Alert] Polish women strip off in bid to woo voters (26/09/2007)

Seven candidates from the Women's Party are featured posing behind a billboard that reads: "The party of women. Poland is a woman."

The attention-grabbing move is making waves in staunchly Catholic Poland, where the ruling Kaczynski twins have pushed a fiercely conservative agenda.

Writer Manuela Gretkowska said she founded the party as the Polish government considered tightening already strict controls on abortion.

DoDo adds: We are in the blogosphere, so here is a Polish blog (a liberal one): the beatroot

He reports that participation (abysmally low last time) looks to be higher; argues that the expat vote won't count, fears PiS will win anyway, and criticises everyone.

Display:
Bring your own news, analysis, polls and results.

If you're a Frontpager, feel free to edit the main article.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:04:29 AM EST
Must admit, I knew something was coming up but I didn't realise it was so soon. Thanks for this thread, Migeru.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:07:15 AM EST
I'm on dialup and don't have much more to add, so you're on your own now!

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
swissinfo - Poles vote on Kaczynski twins in snap election

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poles voted on Sunday in a snap parliamentary election that could weaken the grip of the conservative Kaczynski twins and bring in a government ready to speed up economic reforms and improve relations with EU allies.

Opinion polls suggest the Civic Platform, a centre-right opposition party, will attract most support.

However, no party looks set to win outright which would lead to negotiations over a coalition in the European Union's biggest ex-communist country. This election was called two years early after the last coalition collapsed over a corruption inquiry.

The Platform has plans to rebuild relations with EU allies that have suffered under the nationalist brothers. It also aims to pull Polish troops out of the U.S.-led force in Iraq.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:18:19 AM EST
If only Marek would be around to comment.

I wonder what he'd think of the Left and Democrats (which you IMO not entirely correctly called Social Liberals). This group unites the former post-reformed-communist party (SLD) he so despised, two of its former breakaways, and the social-liberal Democratic Party, the one party he liked.

Also, I'd term the League of Polish Families extreme-right.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:27:53 AM EST
Do we know what happened to Marek? Is he busy, depressed, or something else?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't be surprised if your repeated comments regarding him and Jörg not explaining Atlanticism kept him away...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I fear.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I wouldn't be surprised if it was something else.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a realy mystery to me BTW what government will arise from this. If only the three bigs enter parliament and neither gains majority, it will be a situation where no one likes no one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:29:26 AM EST
Do we have any seat projections or polls?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check the second post in the blog I linked in the update to your post for polls.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw that, thanks.

All over the place and unreliable, it appears.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 11:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is a great thing to have eurotrib for days like today...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:58:37 PM EST
Beatroot is doing live-blogging.

He reports that

  • Total turnout 55% (vs. 40.6% last time!) Voting was very high (74%) in cities, and low among the old and the rural people -- should favor the neolibs vs the twins.
  • Announcement of results, and even exit polls, was postponed repeatedly, due to some problems in Gdansk.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 03:45:28 PM EST
They ran out of ballot papers? RTÉ is reporting that here anyway.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:03:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big issue here tonight - lots of Poles here.

People queuing here to vote since 5am this morning .... 25,00 registered to vote here. Looks like a family outing ... can't imagine that many who voted here voted for the Terrible Twins.

Non-voters interviewed are saying they're just pissed off with the whole political scene in Ireland.

"In Warsaw a number of polling stations ran out of polling papers". "Over 55% turnout". Overseas vote "feeds into Warsaw constituency". "Official result Monday/Tuesday". First exit polls due 10pm GMT+1.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:07:27 PM EST
Beatroot also reported a target time of 22:55 CE(S)T for announcements. Also a mistakenly shown exit poll graph without names given, showing a large advantage for the winner -- it seems the neoliberals can form a government on their own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's bad we're rooting for the pro-business parties, but what can you do when crazies are the alternative?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:11:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, just as Marek argued anno. Unfortunately, they aren't just pro-business hyper-reformists, but enthusiastic hyper-Atlanticists, too... in that worse than the Twins.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Atlanticist they may be, but Tusk has said he'll pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they said they will adopt the European charter of fundamental rights...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:39:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that leave the UK as the sole refusniks on that then? The Irish government muttered about not ratifying it then ran away screaming when everyone looked at them funny ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK don't want no stinking rights. British liberty is the residue of concessions made by our ancient rulers, which our present masters have not got around to withdrawing yet.

I am sure Tony Blair thinks that the biggest mistake he made was to enact the Human Rights Act 1998 (extending parts of the European Convention of Human Rights into UK domestic law).

The last thing the British ruling class wants to do is add additional barriers to executive authority.

However to say something about Poland, it is a good thing if they wish to adopt the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

by Gary J on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 11:06:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it looks like UK will remain the only EU member state in which the Charter will not be legally binding.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 11:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He didn't, a party rep said after the election that this is the aim.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:32:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which, I add, might be a way of extorting something from the US; what Tusk told in the television debate was that Poland got nothing back from serving along the US.

(BTW, beatroot thinks that, while the US and Britain didn't, Poland did join for oil: in one post he quoted explicit words from government persons on a hope for oil contracts.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:35:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I am really happy about is the elimination of the PiS's former coalition partners, especially the Catholic-conservative and barely crypto fascist madmen of LPR.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentially, which meaning of "liberal" did you mean in your description of The Beatroot?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... cosmopolitan-urbanite-liberal. A social-liberal/neolib distinction is not helpful here. He criticised the Civic Platform and Tusk for not being liberal enough (on social-cultural matters). But he praised Barroso as one great politician -- for endorsing low-budget airlines. E.g., not really our kind of progressive.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:23:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, one of the Terrible Twins, the President, was not up for re-vote.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:12:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, but as usual the best I can hope for is improvement.

What are the odds of getting rid of him before he's due to go? Given the normal way those sort of people work - projection as a key value - I have to assume that there's lots of corruption he could be nailed on.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think he can be removed -- I believe that in Lech Wałęsa's scandalous final years, there were failed attempts to remove him. On the other hand, in a cohabitation, he may be much more constrained.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a parliamentary system, so he has limited power anyway?

Hm. Some sort of mixed system according to Wikipedia?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mixed, just like in France (or Austria). Cohabitation happened before under Wałęsa, which was constant conflict but as I remember it, more theatrics than real blockade of the government from the President's side. It also happened under Kwaśniewski, who focussed on appearing statesmanlike, though maybe he vetoed some stuff (I don't remember any details anymore).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He did veto some quite significant stuff, I find.

East European Constitutional Review

December 1998 also witnessed the final battle for the establishment of the Institute of National Remem-brance, an archive of the files of the pre-1989 secret services. As expected, on December 3, President Alexander Kwasniewski (formerly Democratic Left Alliance [DLA]) vetoed the bill...

...three-fifths majority required to overrule the president's veto... On December 18, the Sejm voted to overrule the president's veto.

...a Senate amendment, approved by the opposition and some EAS members (including the two EAS ministers), empowered the prosecutor general's office to veto privatization decisions made by the Ministry of the Treasury. According to FU, the law as amended would allow the office to encroach on the ministry's competence as well as slow the progress of privatization... FU called on the president to veto the act, which he did, on January 27.

East European Constitutional Review

Since coming to power in 1997, the EAS-Freedom Union (FU) coalition has seen many of its legislative projects killed by the vetoes of President Aleksander Kwasniewski.

...Eventually, the ruling coalition proposed three tax rates: 19, 29, and 36 percent in 2000; 19, 28, and 35 percent in 2001, and just two rates-18 and 28 percent thereafter. The bill also eliminated many tax deductions, with only the house-renovation benefit and a provision for families with two or more children remaining intact.

...November 28, when President Aleksander Kwasniewski (DLA) vetoed the tax bill, asserting that it violated the social-justice principle called for in Art. 2 of the Constitution, and that its passage had been highly irreg-ular. Kwasniewski's move outraged the government. Balcerowicz considered resigning, setting off shock-waves in the economy-the zloty weakened, and the stock market took a dive. On December 2, parliament responded to the presidential veto, with 200 deputies voting to uphold and 225 voting to overrule. Because the proponents of tax reform fell significantly short of the majority (265 votes) they needed to overrule a pres-idential veto, the previous tax rates were preserved.

...the Polish Senate had adopted the toughest antipornography law in Europe.

...the provision was passed by a vote of 210 to 197 with 19 abstentions. At this point, President Kwasniewski entered the fray. He vetoed the law on the last possible date, March 27. The president justified his veto with the claim that educa-tion- not a ban-could best combat pornography. Moreover, the president and many of the ban's oppo-nents disliked the law because it did not define pornography, handing dangerous discretionary powers to judges and prosecutors, who could apply the law unpredictably, according to their personal views.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
22.00: Um....anyone know any jokes....or something. Maybe: "What do the Kaczynskis do on a tennis court? They play volleyball," ha, ha.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:28:38 PM EST
Apparently results now from the Beatroot:

A huge win for Civic Platform!

League of Polish Families and Self defense are out of parliament!

Civic Platform - 44.2 percent
Law and Justice - 31.3
Left and Democrats - 12.2
Polish Peasants Party - 7.9
LPR (League of Polish Right) - 1.6
Self defense - 1.4




If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:03:04 PM EST
That would mean this time the last-minute polls showing a surge of Tusk were actually accurate, I guess.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beatroot also says that the official final tally won't be released until Monday or Tuesday. The figures quoted above are apparently based on exit polls.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From leading liberal newspaper Rzeczpospolita:

It seems the post-collaborator agrarian party made it, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:04:22 PM EST
Beatroot saying PiS making noises about challenging outcome due to irregularities. What did they say about OCSE observers, again?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sick, but sick, of governments accusing the opposition of stealing elections.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:33:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rzeczpospolita's graph is updated.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If exit polls are confirmed .. this is a huge win for .. well non-craziness.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:59:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other big paper, Gazeta Wyborcza, reports a more precise turnout at 55.3%. They also bring a seat distribution prediction:

PO (Civic Platform) 227
PiS (Law and Order = Terrible Twins' party) 158
LiD (Left and Democrats) 47
PSL (Polish Peasants Party) 27
German minority 2

Majority is 231, so either PO-PSL, or maybe they try the Romanian model and try to convince some parlamentarians to change party colours.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:32:34 PM EST
Is PO-LiD out of the question?

I think I saw somewhere that to overrule presidential veto you need 60%, which would be 277 seats and would need PO+LiD+PSL (or large parts thereof) voting in favor.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In this region, nothing is out of question, parties that viewed each other as arch-enemies can come together. I am curious what will be.

The latest seat distribution figures BTW, at 90.% counted:

PO 208
PiS 164
LiD 52
PSL 35

60% would be 277, indeed all three needed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:25:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Slight shifts away from PSL at 99% counted:

PO 209
PiS 166
LiD 53
PSL 31

From the little I could decrypt from Gazeta:

  • a PO-PSL coalition is talked about
  • in the expat vote, while in Europe, PO won by a high margin, in the US, PiS won by a high margin!


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely a minority government seems possible. Do they need a majority of votes to form a government, or just a plurality? If all the PO parlamentarians vote for Tusk and 8 others abstain, they win the vote.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:32:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think minority government works in Poland. That would require a certain minimum of civility and respect from the opponents.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I were Polish I'd steal that for my signature.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 04:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some good news from Poland, at last.  Sorry grandpa and grandma.  Congratulations, Poland!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:37:47 PM EST


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