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Elections in Poland

Poland's vote: More nationalism or closer ties to Europe?

WARSAW - For the leading opposition party, Sunday's election here is the most important event since 1989, when Poland extracted itself from the Soviet Union while 250,000 troops were still in the country. They term it a historic battle between light and dark.

For center-right Civic Platform candidate Donald Tusk, Sunday's vote decides whether Poland turns inward, chauvinist, and authoritarian under Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski – or flowers into a more open economy and civil society, as well as a closer partner to Europe. The party also favors pulling Polish troops out of Iraq.

For Poland's ruling conservative Kaczynski brothers, who are president and prime minister, Sunday is a battle between light and dark, but for other reasons.
For them, it is about establishing for the first time since the 18th century a genuine, "pure" Poland – a lighthouse of Catholic moral and Polish national virtues, a place where the forgotten poor have hope, and where the security services, rightly directed, will finally purge white collar crooks, communist collaborators, and ex-dissidents. Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twins, as they are known here, want a Poland that stands for Poland in Europe, a friend of Washington, and isn't rolled over by Germany or Russia.

Until a week ago, most polls showed the Kaczynskis would take Sunday's election. But an Oct. 12 televised debate has put Mr. Tusk in a neck and neck race. European leaders, wondering about the direction of a new EU state often described as prickly or unpredictable, are very interested in the outcome.

The snap elections were called in August amid a terrific fracturing of political coalitions here. The atmosphere in Warsaw has been charged by a full-bore campaign by the Kaczynskis to dismiss high-ranking officials and even to imply that former dissidents like Solidarity leaders Lech Walesa, Bronislaw Geremek, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and even Polish war hero Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a former foreign minister, are insufficiently patriotic.

Since taking office in 2005, the Kaczynski twins have fired or dismissed no fewer than 14 cabinet-level officials, including the ministers of finance, interior, defense, and foreign affairs. Defense minister Radek Sikorski, a prominent political figure here, resigned in February.

To be sure, experts admit that from the late 1990s to 2005, corruption in Poland was a serious problem. Yet the twins attempt to clean up Poland has been at least equally divisive. The combination of broad "lustration" laws this spring – that used old secret service files to ferret out collaborators (the effort was struck down by a constitutional court) – as well as the formation of an active secret bureau of investigation into corruption (beholden to the prime minister, according to Western diplomats) has created fear of retribution along political lines.

"The brothers use the anticorruption and the decommunization campaigns as two mutually reinforcing ways to vet anyone who wants to participate in public," says Jacques Rupnik of Sciences Po in Paris. "It has created a lot of hatred in Poland."

But the Law and Justice Party (PiS) of the twins appeals to ordinary people in the countryside, to older Poles who have not enjoyed the fruits of Poland's postcommunist economic success, and to staunch Catholics. "Kaczynski is not corrupt, and it is time to end our habit of business in politics," says Tomasz, a Warsaw taxi driver.

The Catholic voting bloc is potent. This is due, in no small part, to the media phenomenon of Radio Maryja. The radio outlet, which also includes a TV channel and several new schools, is an ultraconservative Catholic operation that analysts say can deliver some 2 million voters. Nearly all the leading political candidates have been on Radio Maryja.

But when Tusk, leader of the Civic Alliance (PO) Party said he wanted to take part in a Radio Maryja air discussion last week, a Law and Justice Party member of parliament, Jolanta Szczypinska, said: "In order to be invited by this radio station, [Tusk] would have to go to confession first."

Parties like the Civic Platform and the Left and Democrats (LiD), made up of an unusual blend of ex-communists and dissidents, score better in the cities and among what one Western diplomat called "the moving Poland" – younger, Internet-savvy Poles who identify themselves as modern and cosmopolitan.

Until this week, most polls showed that Law and Justice would dominate Sunday's vote.

Yet an Oct. 12 TV debate between Tusk and Jaroslav Kaczynski seems to have shaken the polls. Known as a "nice guy," Tusk, who has lost a number of Polish elections, took a combative approach with the fastidious Kaczynski – knocking his record, pointing out that Poland has built less than a mile of new roads in the past year, has not delivered on the leftist agenda of housing for the poor, and has harmed Poland's image in Europe.

A Civic Platform win would suit financial markets in Europe, expecting lower taxes and faster moves towards adopting the euro to replace the Polish zloty.

But one of the big questions in Warsaw is whether Poles will show up to vote.

Many Poles have been tuning out a political process they see as tainted or obtuse. In the cities, the Kaczynskis are criticized as parochial or moralizing. The opposition is called hapless or message-less. While European states score 70 to 80 percent turnouts, Poland's recent election was closer to 40. A whopping 2 million of some 20 million Poles of voting age have "voted with their feet" since 2004, experts note, leaving for jobs in Europe, especially in London. Most are young.

"We spent 45 years painfully sacrificing to get the vote [during Soviet occupation] and now that we have it, no one uses it," says a Foreign Ministry official.

"As long as election turnout is only 40 percent, Polish politics will never be stable," says Radoslaw Markowski, at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology.

But as the race has tightened, some see hope. Currently, the two main contenders are within 5 points of each other in various polls.

"I don't think the democratic process is dead yet in Poland," comments a Western diplomat. "This is a real campaign."

http://news.yahoo.com

Re: Elections in Poland

I will be voting for PIS, and no its not because of the good Reverend or the Catholic Church.
Go PIS

Re: Elections in Poland

Just out of interest, what are you reasons for Voting PiS?

Re: Elections in Poland

Sweeping statement time.

Poles aren't interested in Politics except as a way of enriching themselves. They also have no understanding of politics and what different parties might believe in.

Two examples.

This week I met a PO hopeful - near the top of the PO election list. He told me that he needs to get elected to finish his house build. He started it when PO were in power locally three years back and made masses of money from local government contracts given out to his newly established computer company. He knows nothing about computers. He just knew that his PO 'friends' in government had EU money to hand out for useless computer systems ... .

I asked another Pole why she intended to vote for the Polish Peasants Party. She said "I don't know, the others have had their chance".

Both are typical opinions held by Poles.

Re: Elections in Poland

The PiS form of right-wing nationalism, pro-Church, anti-foreigner, anti-wealth views appeals to most Poles.

This is why they will likely be re-elected.

Re: Elections in Poland

I found this in the Daily Telegraph. That idiot must go and go soon.

"Poland's opposition party was predicted yesterday to take power in Sunday's elections after its leader accused his principal rival, the prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, of pulling a gun on him.

Donald Tusk's extraordinary allegation came in a television debate between the two men. Recalling a chance meeting in Poland's parliament more than a decade ago, Mr Tusk alleged that Mr Kaczynski pulled out a pistol and said: "For me to kill you would be peanuts.""

Re: Elections in Poland

Im sitting here watching the minute-by-minute updates on onet.pl, with a sinking feeling PiS will get back in again, despite the large number of young people who voted. It's very true that the actual manifestos of each party count for nought in this election

Re: Elections in Poland

"Donald Tusk's extraordinary allegation came in a television debate between the two men. Recalling a chance meeting in Poland's parliament more than a decade ago, Mr Tusk alleged that Mr Kaczynski pulled out a pistol and said: "For me to kill you would be peanuts.""


I missed this little gem!!

Is this widely known about in Poland!?! Nobody I know seems to have heard of any report.

Re: Elections in Poland

Polish TV news now:

PO - 44%
PiS - 31%

Can it be true?

Re: Elections in Poland

It seems so!

LiD - 13%.

Re: Elections in Poland

God! I hope so.

Re: Elections in Poland

"Is this widely known about in Poland!?! Nobody I know seems to have heard of any report."

Try 'Kaczynski tusk gun' in google - somebody told me and that's how I found it. It all came out in the TV debate - at first Kaczyński denied it, then later said it was a toy gun.

Re: Elections in Poland

HHAHAHAH, YES! I can't quite believe my eyes either! How extraordinary!

Re: Elections in Poland

Looks like there'll be some celebrating tomorrow!

Re: Elections in Poland

Yep, 100% certain.

Victorious Donald Tusk is speaking now.

And there will be no League of Polish families or Self Defence MPS!

Re: Elections in Poland

TVN 24 have just confirmed it.

Re: Elections in Poland

Seats in Parliament:

P0 (Right wing)- 227
PiS (Right wing nationalists) - 158
LiD (Center Left) - 47
PSL (Peasants Party) - 27

Re: Elections in Poland

Euronews had it live! Fan'bloody'tastic, now the massive job of sorting out all the damage done by Mr potato head.
He still managed to have a few digs during his speech.

Rugby and F1 who cares? Pis is out at last

Well sort of anyway.

Re: Elections in Poland

Warszawa: Tusk ztook a decisive win over Kaczyński - 522,667 votes for the leader of PO, 215,539 for the premier.

Re: Elections in Poland

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Re: Elections in Poland

A sad day indeed for Poland, a win for the greedy rich in Poland and for the USA, alas it won't be long that people will be unhappy with this government and what a change, cheers for corruption and the rich, I pity the poor and people on pensions.

Re: Elections in Poland

There simply aren't enough 'greedy rich' in Poland to affect the vote in Polanl or anywhere and overseas votes are included only in the Warsaw constituency (& haven't all been counted yet).

The margin between PiSs & Citizens' Platform is too high, and the turnout so much increased for it to be anything other than a genuine desire by ordinary Poles for a normal government.

PiSs would have played it differently if they had any sense.

Re: Elections in Poland

The point being that the rich will benefit most, like I say give it time and poles will not be happy and want somebody else.

Re: Elections in Poland

But didn't I read in another thread that the President - the twin still in power - would do everything possible to block the legislation of any new government formed by PO.

Re: Elections in Poland

Unfortunately yes. But if more than 66% of MPs vote for a bill he can't do it.

Re: Elections in Poland

Thanks Jon. Found this.

Poland's Kaczynskis lose

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's conservative Kaczynski twins were beaten in a parliamentary election on Sunday by a centre-right opposition party ready to mend relations with EU allies, speed economic reforms and pull troops from Iraq.

The Civic Platform's victory over the ruling Law and Justice party, with the biggest turnout since the fall of communism nearly two decades ago, appeared to be a rejection of two years of turbulent rule by the nationalist twins.

Exit polls showed the Civic Platform won around 44 percent of the vote. Law and Justice had just over 30 percent.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski conceded defeat. His brother Lech, the president, does not face an election until 2010 but opposition parties together looked set to get enough seats to trump his power to veto legislation.

"The Platform's role will be to return Poland to the heart of Europe," said Bronislaw Komorowski, a top Platform official.

Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk, expected to be the next prime minister, said he welcomed the mandate for change given by the 55 percent turnout: "We are moved that Poles went to cast their ballots."

The Civic Platform appeared to be a few seats short of being able to govern alone, but the centrist Peasants' Party said it was ready for coalition talks. A leftist bloc said it would remain in opposition but support pro-EU policies.

The result by the Platform was the best by any party since communism.

"We have failed against a wide front," the prime minister said. "We will be a decisive, tough opposition."

The election was called two years early after his last coalition collapsed amid acrimony over a corruption investigation. He had put the fight against post-communist graft at the heart of his campaign.

DIVIDE

The opposition's strength is among youths and in cities enjoying the fastest growth for a decade. The Kaczynskis have more support among staunchly Catholic Poles and older people in rural areas who feel left out by years of change.

"Finally! The situation we had here was impossible, unbearable," said Marek Stepien, a building worker celebrating in the city of Gdansk.

The Platform was also the favourite of financial markets, which expect reforms such as tax cuts and privatization that would also help the country of 38 million towards adopting the euro currency.

"This is a far better outcome than generally expected and is likely to be taken very positively by the markets," said Silja Sepping of Lehman Brothers. The zloty has been at a 5-year high on expectations of a Civic Platform win.

A senior Platform official said the party would seek to bring home some 900 troops from the U.S.-led force in Iraq and also made clear it toughen its stance with Washington over plans for controversial "missile shield" installations in Poland.

Above all, the party aims to rebuild ties with EU partners such as Germany that have been badly strained under the Kaczynskis.

"There will be a huge change in style. Poland's credibility will be rebuilt," said Zbigniew Lewicki of Warsaw University.

"We have a chance to become a normal European country. This is the end of a dark period for this country. It is over now and it is over before serious damage had been done."

A Platform official said the party would aim to quickly ratify a new EU treaty over which the Kaczynskis had wrangled to win voting concessions to the despair of EU leaders.

Turnout was the highest for a parliamentary election since 1989. That compared to 40 percent in 2005, when the low voter participation helped the Kaczynskis.

Exit polls indicated that the opposition parties would together get the three-fifths of the 460 seats that they need in the lower house of parliament to be able to stop the president using his veto powers as long as they are united.

The polls suggested Civic Platform could have won 70 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Final results are expected on Tuesday.

For pictures, please follow link: http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/articleslideshow?articleId =USL1622600520071021&start=1

Re: Elections in Poland

Now just a case of waiting to get rid of the idiot, ban Radio Maryja and the nutters and Poland has a chance of being seen as a normal country again.

A great day for Poland!

Re: Elections in Poland

Are you suggesting concentration camps etc..it seems some people don't believe in freedom of speech, Hitler would be proud of you!

Re: Elections in Poland

Oh stop talking nonsense Offbeat

Re: Elections in Poland

I have no idea what Tusk's policies are. How will he be good for Poland other than improving business? Does he have a robust policy for luring back the Poles in the UK and improving healthcare and education?

I think a change is good and hopefully this will improve foreign relations, but politicians are usually good at making promises and not keeping them...

Re: Elections in Poland

"A Platform official said the party would aim to quickly ratify a new EU treaty over which the Kaczynskis had wrangled to win voting concessions to the despair of EU leaders."

Just noticed this...is this a good thing?

Re: Elections in Poland

Here's something about PO

Election victors in Poland to push for reform

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's centre-right election victors said on Monday they would seek a broad alliance in parliament to push through economic reforms and redirect Poland into the EU mainstream.

The Civic Platform defeated the conservative Law and Justice party of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Sunday's election after a record number of Poles turned up at the ballot box to reject social conservatism and isolationism.

Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk is expected to be prime minister of the new government, with the centrist Peasant's Party his expected coalition partner.

"We will have to form the broadest possible formula for cooperating with all who wanted to remove Law and Justice from power," Bronislaw Komorowski, the Platform's number two leader, told Polish TOK FM radio.

According to preliminary results from the electoral commission, the Platform won 41.6 percent of the vote, giving them 208 seats in the lower house -- short of an outright majority of 231 seats. Final results were expected on Tuesday.

With 91 percent of the vote counted, the Peasants' Party had won 8.8 percent, or 35 seats, giving the likely government 243 seats in the 460-seat lower house, the Sejm.

Kaczynski, whose party got over 30 percent of the vote, conceded defeat.

His twin brother Lech, the president, does not face an election until 2010 but opposition parties together looked set to get enough seats in parliament to trump his veto power.

It is up to the president to nominate the next prime minister once the new parliament meets for the first time on November 5.

RELIEF IN EUROPE

The Platform's victory will be greeted with relief in EU capitals where the Kaczynskis have earned a reputation of troublemakers with their nationalist agenda since coming to power in 2005.

"Poland's credibility will be rebuilt," said Zbigniew Lewicki, a foreign policy expert at the University of Warsaw. "We have a chance of becoming a normal European country."

Despite a booming economy, the Kaczynskis had ruled during constant infighting, particularly over the campaign against post-communist graft that has been their central policy.

The opposition had accused them of abusing secret services and undermining good democratic practice with attacks on independent judiciary and tight control of state media.

Following its victory, Platform leaders said they would try to put Poland's all-but-abandoned drive to adopt the euro back on track, with 2012-13 seen as the earliest entry date.

It promised to seek lower taxes, cut red tape and speed up privatisation to help slash the budget deficit and debt -- key euro zone criteria seen as the main obstacles to euro zone membership.

It also plans to bring home some 900 troops from the U.S.-led force in Iraq and may bargain hard with Washington e over U.S. plans to set up a missile defence site in Poland, vehemently opposed by neighbouring Russia.

The Peasants signalled readiness to enter the coalition with the Platform but the party is traditionally more sceptical about free market policies and is expected to bargain hard in any coalition negotiations.

Party officials said Civic Platform's Tusk was likely to begin negotiations this week.

Re: Elections in Poland

From 'The Economist'. This one's quite good!

Poland's likely new rulers are less exciting than the last lot. A good thing too

WHATEVER the details of Poland's next government, the perplexing and sometime troubling era of the "terrible twins" is over. That, in short, is the message of the election on Sunday October 21st, in which the centre-right opposition Civic Platform party, led by Donald Tusk, trounced the ruling Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who will now step down as prime minister. His twin brother, Lech, will stay on as president, although with sharply diminished political clout. With 90% of the vote counted Civic Platform had received 41.6% of the vote; Law and Justice got 32%.

Law and Justice had called an early election hoping to consolidate the gains made during the past two years, when the party—at times governing alone, otherwise with small coalition allies—has been on a rumbustious crusade to rid Poland of the uklad, a sinister conspiracy of ex-spooks, former communists, corrupt officials and well-connected businessmen. Both the timing of the election, and the tactics adopted in the weeks leading up to it, have proved misjudged.

Many Poles agreed with Law and Justice’s diagnosis of the danger of pervasive corruption, but found the medicine worse than the disease. The government’s favourite means were the use of highly politicised prosecutors against political opponents, and the vindictive and partial leaking of secret-police files and material obtained by the intelligence agencies. Rather than building up the independent institutions that Poland undoubtedly needs, the government tended to pack public bodies with its own people. Its harping on the need for a strong state, coupled with depicting its opponents as crooks and traitors, led some to compare the Kaczynskis' approach to that of Vladimir Putin in neighbouring Russia.

Foreigners found little to admire either. Law and Justice seemed obsessed with the wrongs of the past, but blind to the needs of the present. The Kaczynskis liked to demand “solidarity” from their European allies, but demonstrated little themslves. Their foreign-policy stance was ignorant, clumsy and suspicious.

Amid the sighs of relief, Civic Platform's new government, probably in coalition with the moderate agrarian Polish Peasants' Party, can expect a honeymoon at home and abroad. The Polish economy is doing well, stoked by booming foreign investment, emigres’ remittances, soaring exports and EU funds. That provides plenty of room to deal with Poland's wasteful public finances, unreformed bureaucracy and grievously inadequate transport network.

Abroad, the new government will find a warm welcome, particularly in Germany, where the chancellor, Angela Merkel, has found her repeated attempts to be friendly rebuffed with bewildering chilliness by the Kaczynskis, who seemed to see little difference between Germany and Russia. The Civic Platform leader and putative prime minister, Mr Tusk, speaks German. Law and Justice tried hard, but failed, to exploit that during the campaign.

And it is this which is probably the biggest lesson. The Kaczynski era looked ominous and all but impregnable while it lasted. Eastern Europe's largest democracy seemed to have been captured by a vengeful populist clique, with ideas about the outside world that ranged from the idiosyncratic to the unpleasant. Polish voters, many feared, were too apathetic and disillusioned to care; the institutions of state too weak to resist. The price was paid not only by Poland, which was being pulled away from the European mainstream, but by the whole of the EU, whose most important new member was turning into a highly questionable advertisement for enlargement.

Now those fears have been put to rest. Turnout was so high that some polling stations had to stay open late to cope. Primitive politics, xenophobia, and high-handed attitudes to the niceties of democracy and the rule of law, have been shown to be electoral liabilities, not a surefire route to success. For that many will be thankful, not only in Poland.

Re: Elections in Poland

Does anyone else subscribe to the printed edition of the Economist? I do and the postal delivery is bloody dreadful. Nothing for weeks and then three arrive on the same day .

They seem to be sent out from Warsaw.

Re: Elections in Poland

They're always sending me offers and it indeed looks cheaper, but I tend to buy in a shop. For English teachers, apparently they do a ready made lesson service but I haven't been able to find any details.

Magazine subscriptions here tend to be mailed by small, often very small setups who get a franchise from distributors, so the copies probably stack up in somebody's garage until they get round to mailing them.

Re: Elections in Poland

Oh stop talking nonsense Offbeat

Sosh this was the most appropriate response to Davids comment. The mentality of some Polish people frighten me, little wonder there is so much hatred in the world!

Re: Elections in Poland

"little wonder there is so much hatred in the world"

Partly due to Radio Mawryja offbeat

But agree with you on freedom of speech point. Freethinking people turn that crap off.

BTW - my condolences on PiS loss my friend

Re: Elections in Poland

Finally, businesses in Poland can expect sweeping tax relief and no more witch hunts.

Go Platforma

Re: Elections in Poland

offbeat - Dajwid isn't Polish. Well almost

He is British by birth and Polish by the grace of God

Re: Elections in Poland

"But didn't I read in another thread that the President - the twin still in power - would do everything possible to block the legislation of any new government formed by PO."

Count the votes - they have enough to override any veto and they will. Kaczynski will be a scared little boy without his brother in Prime Minister's chair.

This was nothing but good ol' fashioned asskicking by PO

Re: Elections in Poland

"The PiS form of right-wing nationalism, pro-Church, anti-foreigner, anti-wealth views appeals to most Poles. "

I dont know - most Poles I know are capitalist pigs who know how to make money. PiS won two yrs ago casue people were sick of corruption, which is communist legacy. Change takes time.

Re: Elections in Poland

(Sosh this was the most appropriate response to Davids comment. The mentality of some Polish people frighten me, little wonder there is so much hatred in the world!)

The mentality of some Polish people frighten me.

Ditto.

Offbeat, what does PO have to do with Nazi concentration camps and Hitler?

Re: Elections in Poland

BTW - my condolences on PiS loss my friend

Mike C, The people of Poland have spoken and the new government has my full support and respect, lets hope it does a great job and puts into place a process which makes it attractive for Poles living abroad to return to Poland! I take your point that poles like the smell of a dollar note, hmmm don't we all!

I just reinterate that we can beg to differ but lets call a spade a spade, no need to project hatred.

I still say that Poles will still be complaining about the new government as the years go on!

Re: Elections in Poland

Don't worry. I am sure you will all find cause to complain about the new government soon...."you can please some of the people some of the time" and all that.

Re: Elections in Poland

I think the new government will have no magic wond, like always some will prosper but most will find it very hard. Interesting that the new government will distance themselves from US interests, ie troops in Iraq/missile bases in Poland. It will be interesting how the economic downturn in the US will effect Poland? If the Euro replaces the US$, this will mark the end of the US as a world power

Re: Elections in Poland

I think it's great that they are planning to remove Polish troops from Iraq. I doubt this move will have a huge impact on US investment in Poland. It's a pity American troops never made it to Poland during WWII.

Re: Elections in Poland

"This was the leader in today's Manchester Guardian. One of the nicest things I've read about Poland in the foreign press lately.


Separating the terrible twins
Leader
Tuesday October 23, 2007
The Guardian
Polish democracy grew up on Sunday, when the country's voters rejected the strident, xenophobic nationalism of Jaroslav Kaczynski. The election mattered not just because it was the first time a generation born after 1989 could vote. Nor because the liberal conservative winner Donald Tusk won the strongest mandate of any prime minister in the post- communist era. It was important because it saw a new generation of voters express its impatience with a leadership that saw the rise of Poland exclusively through the prism of 20th- century invasion and occupation. Though Mr Kaczynski's twin brother Lech still holds the presidency, Poland has turned a corner.
The reaction in European capitals to the departure of the intellectually dominant Kaczynski twin is not the best way to gauge the result of a snap election. But it does show how many countries the twins alienated in their brief but incident-packed reign. There was Germany, which found that the country they had sponsored for entry into the EU was now using membership as a way of settling old scores. There was Russia, whose relationship with the EU was embittered by Poland, retaliating to a Russian ban on Polish meat. There was the EU itself, whose reform treaty was nearly scuppered in the summer by Polish demands for more votes. The election was as much about Poland's image abroad as it was about the need for more tolerance and liberty at home. If Mr Kaczynski's model for Poland was a combative, xenophobic country surrounded by perceived enemies, and committed only to a relationship with a dwindling band of US neoconservatives, that model was rejected by the thousands of Poles living in Britain and Ireland who had a calmer, less hysterical view Poland's place in Europe.
The election of Mr Tusk's Civic Platform (PO) is not going to change Poland's foreign policy overnight. It was the PO that came up with the slogan "Nice or death" in the row over the voting rights that Warsaw had initially won at the Nice Treaty. Poland will remain critical of the EU and distrustful of Vladimir Putin's Russia. It will agree to the deployment of a missile defence base in the north-west of the country, but the man tipped to be its foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, will demand a higher price for Warsaw's acquiesence in terms of the modernisation of the Polish armed forces. Poland will still defend its national interests, with more pragmatism and less of the damaging anti-German rhetoric.
Lech Kaczynski remains in power, and it is one of the ironies of his brother's defeat that he will have to appoint a new prime minister. Before the election, he threatened to use his power of veto to block any legislation he did not agree with. If he carried out this threat, he would only be broadening the coalition of support that Civic Platform would enjoy in parliament. The government will be formed from a coalition of Civic Platform and the Peasants' party. This would be enough to secure a parliamentary majority but not the 60% of votes needed to overcome a presidential veto. If this happened, the Left and Democrats - an alliance of social democrats and former communists who hate the Kaczynskis more than most - are expected to vote with the government.
Poland is now politically more coherent. Gone are the teetering coalitions that threatened to collapse at the first whiff of scandal. Gone too from parliament are unsavoury extremist parties like the populist Self- Defence or rightwing League of Polish Families. Their vote collapsed from 18% at the last election two years ago to just over 3%. In its place is a parliament dominated by three factions: the liberal conservatism of Civic Platform, the nationalism of Mr Kaczynski's Law and Justice party, and the centre-left social democrats. If it looks like any other country, it is a measure of how far Poland has travelled.

Re: Elections in Poland

I'm happy to see Jaroslaw lose, but why quote the rubbishy, hypocritical Guardian with its sloppy journalistic standards?

"Jaroslav Kaczynski" - Grauniad spelling at it's beast!