Thursday, 16 July 2009

More of the same, or Poland after the elections

What is the result of recent European elections in Poland? The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. Each of four major parties may claim a success of its own. But the real victor is the Political Cartel itself, i.e. those same four parties considered as a whole. Though they constantly fight with each other, at the same time they have one interest in common: to prevent any political rival from beyond the Cartel from getting into the mainstream. And they proved perfectly capable of achieving this goal.

The result is a success for the Civic Platform (PO). They confirmed their position as the biggest party on the Polish scene. But it is also a success for the Law and Justice (PiS). They confirmed their position of the biggest opposition party and the only right-wing alternative for the Civic Platform. And it is also a success for the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). They proved to be the only major left-wing party in Poland. And it is a success for the Polish People's Party (PSL). They confirmed that they do have an independent position, even though they are a minor partner in the ruling coalition.

The elections proved a disaster for all other parties. The populist parties (League of Polish Families and Self-Defence) proved unable to seriously challenge Law and Justice. Both the centre-left coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, and the anti-capitalist Polish Labour Party (PPP) proved unable to articulate (or create) electorates of their own.

Is it Polish voters that do not need an alternative? Or is it the alternative that has not been delivered to its potential supporters? Anyway, the political scene in Poland seems to be carved in concrete. I know that even a small seed of a tree is sometimes able to subvert apparently solid concrete constructions. But how to translate a metaphor into a political strategy?

Adam Ostolski

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