Wed Oct 26th, 2005 at 11:14:30 AM EST
promoted by Jerome. I was hoping that Marek would comment on the Twin Quiz post below, but he has instead provided a full diary on the situation in Poland after the presidential election. So here it is.
Lech Kaczynski has won the presidency - so what happens now? Well, once the results are announced his party, PiS, and his opponent's, PO will start negotiations in earnest to form the coalition they have been promising for several years. But last week the extreme right (LPR), extreme left (Samoobrona) and the peasant party (PSL) appealed to PiS to join them in a coalition and Kaczynski's presidential campaign openly allied itself with the extreme right while sending out olive branches to Samoobrona. Even if a POPiS government is created, the EU should get ready for some interesting times and Russia will go from facing a (relatively) conciliatory Polish government to a very hostile one while America will get an even more pro-Bush one. Yes, you read that right, by Polish standards Kwasniewski was a moderate on Polish-Russian relations.
At the moment it is still much more likely that the PO and PiS will reach a deal, with PiS' dual parliamentary and presidential victory giving them a stronger hand in creating the government program. A PiS-LPR-PSL-Samoobrona government would be unstable due to constant internal power struggles but viable at least in the short term now that it would not have to face a hostile veto-wielding president without the votes to override him. It would be based on a turn to the left in economic policy and a very sharp turn to Europhobia and Russophobia in foreign policy. Its policy towards America would be very difficult to figure out. The PiS loves the neocon foreign policy and the Christian right, hates Germany, hates Russia even more, dislikes France and is moderately Europhobic. On the other hand the LPR's foreign policy views are roughly those of the West European far left with a large dose of antisemitism and anti-Germanism added into the mix. Both the LPR and Samoobrona are traditionally Russophilic but over the past year the extreme right has become somewhat hostile. The PSL only cares about patronage and agricultural policy and has moved from moderate Europhobia to Europhile positions as Polish farmers have begun to discover the joys of EU money. You could also expect a lot of complaining about the moral decadence of Europe, particularly homosexuality and about Europe's hostility to Christianity and Christian values - basically imagine a Catholic version of the more hardline elements of the American Christian right.
It is hard to say what exactly the policies of a POPiS government would be. On economic policy the PO wants to slash taxes for the rich and mildly cut expenditures on the poor while PiS wants to cut taxes for the middle class and raise social spending. Considering Poland has a large budget deficit as it is, these programs could not be enacted. My best guess is that they'd meet in the middle and keep things roughly as they are now, with some tweaking around the margins - but that is just an educated guess. On foreign policy you'd see a strengthening of Polish-American ties, somewhat greater hostility to Russia. And while the PO is Europhilic, it is also strongly neo-liberal. That combined with the knee jerk Europhobia of the PiS would make a POPiS government hostile to any attempts to create a more `social' Eu