Right-Wing Parties Unite

July 23, 2014
(c) Fakt

The Holy Trinity (photo: Fakt)

After long negotiations, three of Poland’s right-wing parties have managed to reach an understanding regarding their future cooperation. On Saturday, the leaders of Law and Justice (PiS), United Poland (SP), and Poland Together (PRJG) signed a political agreement. “It is important to know the situation in the country, but also to know what to do in order to change it. One thing is certain: the change can only be accomplished together,” said Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS). According to the signed agreement, the two smaller parties will support a PiS candidate in the upcoming by-elections to the senate. Following that, all three parties will unite for this year’s regional elections, as well as in the parliamentary elections in 2015. In addition, the parties agreed to have one candidate in the presidential elections of 2015; however, none of the politicians wanted to comment on the rumour that the presidential candidate could be SP head Zbigniew Ziobro. Earlier this week, following a string of accusations made by PiS MPs who blamed the failure of negotiations on Ziobro and Gowin’s personal ambitions, Ziobro declared that he was willing to leave the world of politics if that was necessary for the right wing to unite.
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Kaczyński’s Accusations

July 22, 2014
Pointing the Finger

Pointing the Finger

During one of his recent speeches, Jarosław Kaczyński of Law and Justice (PiS) criticised the Polish economy, healthcare and education systems. According to the PiS head, none of these areas are in a satisfactory condition. Rising unemployment has resulted in mass emigration to highly developed countries where career opportunities are significantly more varied and attainable. Kaczyński also mentioned that Polish healthcare cannot be trusted. Nowadays, it seems that it is more profitable to let seriously ill patients die than help them. He continued saying that the procedures of making appointments are so complicated and time-consuming that many patients have to wait months to visit a specialist. In addition, social assistance is not available to all those who need it. There are thousands of families that do not receive any support from the government and as a result, there is a large number of undernourished children in Poland. In his speech, opposition leader Kaczyński did not forget about the Polish education system and said that educational programmes in Poland need to be entirely reorganised. He said that the issue of textbooks should also be resolved – constantly changing textbooks do not improve the quality of education but only worsen the financial situation of many families. PM Donald Tusk replied to these comments. He claimed that many young people have managed to find well-paid jobs over the last months in Poland, while the level of emigration is now much lower than in 2008. When it comes to the problem of healthcare in Poland, he said that the government is currently working on a new bill that aims at improving all complicated procedures that prevent patients from obtaining the necessary care. Last but not least, he touched upon the issue of social assistance. He explained that the amount of income per family has been raised so as to enable more citizens to receive financial benefits. According to The Economist, Tusk is the one who is correct. As the magazine reports, Poland is treated by most European countries with great respect due to the progress it has made during the global economic crisis.
wyborcza.pl

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Ziobro and Gowin Join Forces

July 15, 2014
New Right-Wing Power?

New Right-Wing Power?

Zbigniew Ziobro’s United Poland (SP) and Jarosław Gowin’s Poland Together (PRJG) have decided to join forces and create a new parliamentary group. The new right-wing alliance under the leadership of Jarosław Gowin will have fifteen MPs. “For many weeks, we have been observing the deepening crisis of the state,” said Gowin, explaining the reasons for the parties banding together. According to PRJG leader, the ruling PO-PSL coalition has lost its political and moral right to rule. He sees establishing a partnership between various right-wing and patriotic political forces as the only feasible way to remove PM Donald Tusk from office. That being said, neither Ziobro nor Gowin attended the “uniting congress” of the right wing, which Law and Justice (PiS) held on Saturday. Both politicians have declared their willingness to continue negotiations between their political formations and PiS, but consider the celebratory congress premature. On Monday, PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński met with Ziobro in order to discuss the possibility of forging an alliance with his former Justice Minister’s party. Although the negotiations so far proved unsuccessful, Ziobro hopes that “an important step towards reaching an understanding has been made”.
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Polish European Parliament

July 4, 2014
Ryszard Czarnecki

Ryszard Czarnecki

Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Ryszard Czarnecki has been chosen as one of fourteen vice presidents of the European Parliament. “I will work for the good of Poland because that is my main goal in the European Parliament,” he declared. Czarnecki was chosen in the third round of voting by secret ballot, winning 284 votes. The PiS MEP will be the only vice president of the European Parliament from Poland. The primary role of vice presidents is to support the head of the European Parliament. When the President is not in the chair, vice presidents chair plenary sessions. They can also represent the President during various ceremonies and are members of the Bureau of the European Parliament. Several Polish MEPs will perform important roles. Jerzy Buzek will be chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Janusz Lewandowski will replace Buzek in the second half of the term. According to unofficial sources, head of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) will be Czesław Siekierski and Danuta Huebner will be head of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).
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Jesus Would Vote for Tusk

June 27, 2014
God with Godson

God with Godson

“I had a hard time deciding what to do, knowing that this decision could affect my future political career, or even end it. But when I asked myself what Jesus would do, I had no more doubts,” said MP John Godson, explaining the reasons behind his choice to support the current government. Godson was one of only a handful of opposition MPs to do so, during Wednesday’s vote of confidence for the government. As well as Godson, four independent MPs and one MP of Your Movement (TR) voted for the ruling coalition. Godson originally won his place in parliament as a Civic Platform (PO) candidate. He left the party in August, after voting against the party line. Currently, he is a member of Poland Together (PRJG), which declared its support for the PiS initiative of replacing the PO-PSL coalition with a cabinet of experts until earlier elections could be organised. Godson, however, had a last-moment change of heart and decided to help his former colleagues from PO instead. He explained that while the behaviour of the politicians implicated in the wiretapping scandal was reprehensible, it would be irresponsible to vote against the government now. It is what Jesus would have done.
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Too Homophobic for Far-Right

June 26, 2014
Danger Man

Danger Man

Since the last month’s euro elections, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French Front National (FN), has been trying to form a new group in the European Parliament. On Monday, one of the MPs involved in the process informed the media that those attempts have proved unsuccessful. The group was supposed to consist of far-right parties from France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. As a new group can only be formed by 25 or more MPs representing no less than seven member states, Le Pen looked to the leader of the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP), Janusz Korwin-Mikke, as a potential ally. After weeks of negotiations, Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) told the ANP news agency that the idea of having KNP join the group was abandoned as the views of Korwin-Mikke were too disparate from those of the five other parties. Wilders added that “PVV really wanted to create a new group in the European Parliament, but not at any cost.” According to various media reports, Wilders supposedly took offence to the “homophobic worldview” of the Polish politician. Korwin-Mikke himself said that FN terminated the negotiations, citing his anti-Semitism and homophobia as the reasons.
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Students Call for End of Government

June 25, 2014
PM Tusk and Marek Belka

PM Tusk and Marek Belka

Anti-government demonstrations are scheduled to take place this week to put pressure on PM Donald Tusk and establish an investigative committee to look into the recent government wiretapping scandal. Thousands of people will participate, according to the organisers. The Students’ Union of Poland insists that the government should resign. Michał Sadłowski, a union member, says: “The Council of Ministers has brought Poland into disrepute.” He adds: “There is ironclad proof that the politicians in power have broken the law, especially in the conversations between Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz and Marek Belka, head of the National Bank of Poland (NBP). Furthermore, the Prime Minister did not even replace the minister.”
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Palikot Calls for New Elections

June 24, 2014
Palikot Concerned

Palikot Concerned

“We are in a tight spot. On the one hand, the associates of PM Donald Tusk have been compromised and need to go, but on the other, no decent person could possibly wish for Law and Justice (PiS) to return to power,” said Janusz Palikot, leader of Your Movement (TR). “It is extremely difficult to tell the difference between PiS and PO (Civic Platform): they use the same methods and often the same people, and the same approach to the most important social issues,” he continued. According to Palikot, earlier elections are necessary in light of the wiretapping scandal. Palikot argues that it is impossible to continue in a situation where the government is losing sleep over every upcoming issue of Wprost, fearing new pieces of information and new scandals that might be released. When asked if his party will support the PiS initiative of a constructive vote of no confidence in the government, he replied that PiS is only trying to make it look like it wants this cabinet gone. “I will never form any government with Jarosław Kaczyński, neither a cabinet of experts nor any other. I would be disgusted with myself,” he declared.
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Worthless Polish-US Alliance

June 23, 2014
Alliance in Doubt?

Alliance in Doubt?

“Minister Sikorski’s international career is about to be dramatically cut short by his own pathetic comments. He has lost the chance to hold any office in the EU or NATO. It is a pity,” said MP Tadeusz Iwiński of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). His comments are a reaction to the recently revealed contents of yet another batch of wiretap recordings. Increadingly more politicians of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) are finding themselves in a difficult position as Wprost magazine continues to publish transcripts and recordings of their private conversations. One of the newly released transcripts features Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski expressing his opinions on Polish-US relations. Using crude language, Sikorski describes the alliance between the two countries as worthless and even harmful to Poland as it “creates a false sense of security” unnecessarily antagonising Germany and Russia. The minister has also something to say about Poles, whom he considers to be “suckers” with “shallow pride and low self-esteem”. Before the scandal, Sikorski was seen as a rising star in the world of international politics. Last month, he became Poland’s official candidate to be the next head of EU foreign policy.
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Vote of No Confidence

June 22, 2014
Much to Contemplate

Much to Contemplate

In the aftermath of ‘Vistulagate’, as the world’s media have christened it, Law and Justice (PiS) is calling for a constructive vote of no confidence in the government. This is not the first PiS attempt at replacing PM Donald Tusk with its own candidate. In all likelihood, the vote will fall through, just as the previous attempt did in March 2013. In order to succeed, the motion requires an absolute majority of 231 votes, whereas PiS has only 136 votes at its disposal, as opposed to the 235 votes of the government (the PO-PSL coalition). Jarosław Kaczyński, head of PiS, has invited potential allies to a meeting that will take place on Monday, but refused on principle to talk to Your Movement (TR), despite the fact that Janusz Palikot’s party could be willing to vote for the motion. What is more, PiS needs all the help it can get as even the entire opposition together would not secure enough votes to force the cabinet to resign. Due to this fact, PiS is looking to the junior government coalition partner, the Polish People’s Party (PSL), for support. However, PSL highlights the fact that the whole idea is unrealistic as the opposition will once again fail to stand united.
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