Right-Wing Parties Unite

(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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Support for PiS Increases

Rise of Kaczyński

Rise of Kaczyński

Law and Justice (PiS) did not win the last elections to the European Parliament, but according to a recent survey, Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s party recorded the greatest increase in support and also came in first place in the survey, unlike ruling Civic Platform (PO), according to Rzeczpospolita. Your Movement (TR) would not manage to win any seats in parliament. According to the survey, 30% of respondents supports PiS, giving the party an increase of 1%. PO, on the other hand, has lost 3% and is supported by 26% of respondents. Assuming that the elections were held now, PiS and PO would be first and second in parliament with the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in third with 11% (a loss of 1%). The New Right (NP) of Janusz Korwin-Mikke would have 6% and the junior government coalition partner, the Polish People’s Party (PSL), would have 5%. Interestingly, people’s willingness to participate in the next elections has increased. Currently, 51% of Poles declares that they would like to take part in the next elections, while previous research indicated only 45%.
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Macierewicz Investigates

Questioning Smolensk

Questioning Smolensk

“I am certainly not mistaken; what we are dealing with here is a crime,” said PiS MP and Jarosław Kaczyński confidante Antoni Macierewicz, discussing the Smolensk plane crash. “Those people died because the plane exploded in the air. I believe that it involved the actions of third parties,” stressed the deputy leader of Law and Justice (PiS). At the same time, he did not indicate the persons who in his opinion are responsible. “At this stage of the proceedings of the parliamentary team, we cannot indicate those responsible. However, everything implies that culpability lies on the Russian side.” Antoni Macierewicz emphasises that the details of the catastrophe are still unknown, which can be blamed on “the prosecutor’s office and the governing bodies of the state.” “Unfortunately they are only blocking this investigation. Hence, there is a necessity to introduce a special Smolensk Act,” notes the deputy PiS head.
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Opposition on WWII Anniversary

Szczygło and His Pamphlets

Szczygło and His Pamphlets

“September 1st, 2009 was supposed to be a day of Polish pride and glory. It turned into a day of confusion and national distaste; and Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, became its central figure,” said Jarsoław Kaczyński, leader of Law and Justice (PiS). The leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) thinks the opposite. Grzegorz Napieralski said, “It was a great success for Poland and Poles. The presence of the German Chancellor and Russian Prime Minister on Westerplatte peninsula carries significant meaning; that we all agree on the fact that Poland was the victim of invasion during WWII.” However, Jarosław Kaczyński during yesterday’s press conference made his different point of view clearly felt “Why was Putin invited in the first place? Why? It is a clear sign that Polish politics ended up in the gutter.” Kaczyński explained that “Putin was given a chance to continue his propaganda free of charge.”

He also criticised Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk for saying that “every nation is entitled to have its own assessment of a given situation. There can only be one assessment of, for example, Katyń – it was genocide. The Polish Prime Minister giving anyone the right to assess such situations differently is unacceptable,” said Kaczyński. The Presidential National Security Bureau (BBN) also issued a booklet entitled Historical Propaganda in Russia between 2004 and 2009. BBN office clerks needed three months to prepare the pamphlet. In the document signed by the head of BBN Aleksander Szczygło, former Minister of Defence in the government of Jarosław Kaczyński, we read that “Prime Minister’s Putin official visit to Gdańsk which took place on 1st September 2009 should be treated as part of Russian historical propaganda.” According to Szczygło: “Russia strives to deepen political divisions in Poland,” and the latest pseudo-historical campaign in Russia was a response to “progress in finding alternative fuel sources for Poland” and to Warsaw’s reaction to the conflict in Georgia in 2008.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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Fast, Furious and Dead

Need for Speed?

Need for Speed?

In 2008 Poland was 2nd place in the whole European Union when it comes to the number of road deaths. Lithuania occupies the top spot. Those are the conclusions drawn from the latest report of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) which was published yesterday. In 2008 5,437 people died on Polish roads, that is 143 road deaths per million people. In Lithuania the ratio was 148; in Hungary 99; 104 in the Czech Republic; Romania and Bulgaria were just behind Poland with, respectively, 142 and 139 road deaths per million. At the beginning of the decade, EU countries agreed on reducing road deaths by 50% by 2010. Nothing has changed in Poland so far – in 2001 the ratio was 145. However, other countries have managed it. In 2001 France had a similar statistic to Poland with 134 road deaths per million population. Today, with 69 road deaths, they have managed to go below the EU average – mainly thanks to draconian regulations. In 2007, over 27 million tickets for violation of traffic regulations were imposed in France. Over 7 million thanks to speed cameras. The fines from these tickets amounted to €883 million and the highest individual fines were as high as €6,800.

In Latvia the number of road deaths dropped by 43% thanks also to stricter regulations and penalties, for example for driving with 100 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood one can be sentenced to 15 days in jail. Over 39,000 people died on roads in the whole EU in 2008. This equals the number of citizens in an average city. Why does Poland do so poorly? “Roads themselves cannot kill. It’s the drivers that must adapt to the situation on the roads,” says Maria Dąbrowska-Lorenc from the Centre for Road Safety. “Speeding is the main reason for car accidents,” she adds. According to the authors of the report the main reason why so many road deaths have been prevented is the safety of vehicles. Improvements in design have helped prevent some 10,640 adult deaths over the past decade and 5,470 since 2001 in the EU-27. Over two-thirds of cars in Poland were manufactured more than ten years ago which is almost double the whole EU average. According to the data provided by the Polish Police, 31% of road accidents were caused by speeding; 24% by not giving right of way to other vehicles; 8% by not giving right of way to pedestrians and 7% by the improper overtaking of other vehicles. 30% of all accidents were caused by drivers of company cars, even though they only make up 5% of all cars registered in Poland according to the Partnership for Road Safety.

Dąbrowska-Lorenc, from the Centre for Road Safety, is certain that the Act regulating the usage of speed cameras will help solve the problem. “In France, the number of road accidents dropped by 20% during the first year after a similar Act came into force,” she adds. In Poland that would amount to almost one thousand people. However, President Kaczyński has sent the Act to the Constitutional Tribunal, because the immediate execution of the punishment which is stipulated in the Act does not provide a clear path for appeal in his opinion. Moreover, President Kaczyński also finds the regulation which allows one to sell one’s vehicle when one refuses to pay a ticket voluntarily to be too severe a punishment. Mikołaj Karpiński, spokesman of the Ministry of Infrastructure, is optimistic. “The National Plan of Road Safety assumes reducing road deaths by 50% by 2013. That is three years later than the EU plan. According to the initial data of road deaths between January and May 2009, there have been 450 fewer deaths than the similar period in 2008,” says Karpiński.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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New Power in Euro Parliament

Right-wing Trailblazer?

Right-wing Trailblazer?

A week before the elections to the European Parliament the largest Polish opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS), has decided to present its vision of Europe and start a discussion on this issue. “Europe needs new initiatives. Europe needs this like people need fresh air,” said PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński during a Saturday election rally in Warsaw where he described PiS as “conservatives who want reform”. As Gazeta Wyborcza writes there were prominent foreign politicians present at the rally, including former Czech PM and leader of the Civic Democratic Party (OSD) Miroslav Topolánek, as well as David Cameron, leader of the British Conservative Party, tipped by many to become the future British PM. Together with Jarosław Kaczyński they declared that after the elections they will form a new group in the European Parliament.

According to PiS spokesman Adam Bielan the aim is to be the third power in the EU Parliament; just after the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Socialist Group and the equally strong Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. “We have made a considerable step towards a better Europe,” said Kaczyński. “European institutions should be effective, efficient and improve cooperation between countries. They should at no point challenge the rights of individuals and laws of the free market,” added the PiS leader. Topolánek mentioned the differences between OSD, PiS and the Tories; however, he said that all three parties share a common view of European integration and the slogan: “More freedom, more realism”. The former Czech PM also said that “The Lisbon Treaty is dead”. Cameron emphasised that “a strong centre-right group will emerge in the European Parliament, forming an alternative to federalist views”. “This is our vision of an open, modern and flexible EU. European nations expect a union of national countries, not a United States of Europe,” he added. “Only through common sense can we create good institutions and introduce moral standards, so they can serve the people. I believe that all three parties share a common sense approach,” said Kaczyński. Surprisingly, there was not a word said about Civic Platform (PO) or the Germans challenging Poland’s borders.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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Sikorski Angry with President

Not a Happy Chappy

Not a Happy Chappy

“I am deeply shocked with the President’s declaration that he will attend the EU-USA summit. We agreed that it is the PM only who is going there,” says the Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski. The summit will take place in Prague in several days’ time, but it is now almost certain that it will be Lech Kaczyński, the President, who will meet the US President Barack Obama. It seems that the agreement was as follows: the President attends the NATO summit, the PM attends the EU-USA summit. In the latter’s agenda, a meeting between Mr Tusk and Mr Obama was planned in order to discuss the fate of the missile defence system to be installed in Poland. It is said that perhaps Mr Kaczyński felt he should talk to Mr Obama because it will be the first meeting of the two administrations. The hosts of the summit are somewhat confused. “At the meeting with Mr Obama, each member state is represented by one person: either the president or the PM. Poland is an exception because both will come,” says Jirzi Potużnik, the Czech PM spokesperson. Why does Mr Kaczyński want to accompany Mr Tusk in Prague? One of the President’s aides claims that “every EU summit is important to him” and notes that the talks in Prague will cover not only the worldwide financial crisis, but also security issues. What troubles the PM is whether such disagreements will be the case for all EU summits in the future. Therefore, he has officially asked the Constitutional Tribunal (TK) to ultimately decide who is responsible for forming delegations for EU summits. The session of the TK has been suspended since last Friday, so all Poles need to be patient in waiting for the solution to the PM-President disagreement.
Dziennik

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