Corrupt MPs?

Civic Platform (PO) has prepared a draft act which provides that the future heads of political offices at the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to meet specific criteria. These would include having a higher education, at least seven years’ work experience, including two years in a managerial position, and security clearance. The proposal was inspired by the current head of the political office and spokesman of the Ministry of National Defence, Bartłomiej Misiewicz. According to MP Cezary Tomczyk from PO: “In the case of Mr Misiewicz, all boundaries of good taste and decency have been crossed.” Tomczyk hopes that the act will preclude “people like Misiewicz” from taking up important ministerial positions. Marcin Kierwiński, head of the political office of the former PM Ewa Kopacz, also takes a negative view of Misiewicz, calling the spokesman a “symbol of the personnel policy of Minister Macierewicz.” Kierwiński notes that experienced and competent people are leaving the Ministry and are being replaced by the passive and mediocre, yet faithful, functionaries of the current governing party. However, the draft act was criticised by Ryszard Petru from Modern (Nowoczesna), who points out that PO had its chance to pass such legislation when it was in power. He contends that no regulations can change the fact that “a bad government will always find a place for bad, unqualified people.” Last week, Fakt reported that Misiewicz had been seen in a club in Białystok, buying drinks for everyone, hitting on female students and offering them jobs at the Ministry. According to the daily, Misiewicz had been accompanied by a security detail, having had arrived in a ministry-owned car. The spokesman, who denies everything, is currently on leave.


Tusk to Return?


PM to become President?

According to Paweł Lisicki, editor-in-chief of right-wing magazine “Do Rzeczy” and a journalist of #dziejesienazywo, the manner in which President of the European Council Donald Tusk argued with Polish President Andrzej Duda during their Monday debate in Brussels, suggests that the former Prime Minister of Poland may have an ace up his sleeve and could take part in future presidential elections in Poland. Lisicki explained that Tusk did not hold back in criticising Duda regarding his allegiances to Law and Justice (PiS) and the violation of the Polish Constitution. “It seems clear to me that Tusk is thinking of challenging Duda in the 2020 elections,” writes Lisicki. On the other hand, however, Paweł Zalewski, a member of Civic Platform (PO) said that Tusk tried to steer Duda away from being an errand boy for PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński. “There is no other European country bar Poland, in which a head of state violates the Constitution,” writes Zalewski. When asked about Tusk’s ambitions of becoming future president of Poland, Zalewski writes that Tusk has at least one and a half year left in the European Council and this is his main focus at the moment. Moreover, according to Zalewski, PiS has already showed what their true intentions are by filling all key positions in Poland with Kaczyński cronies, who actually have little knowledge about or competence in their new roles. For instance, Wojciech Jasiński was appointed head of PKN Orlen, the Polish oil and gas powerhouse, however, Jasiński appears to not even know how to read a balance-sheet. “This problem concerns every nomination undertaken by PiS. It is a disgrace, a nightmare,” writes Zalewski.

Education Revolution?

Yet Another Change

Yet Another Change

“Prime Minister Beata Szydło and I are the same age and we both have pleasant memories of our childhood,” said former Minister of National Education Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska. Indeed, back then Polish children started their education at the age of 7 and primary school lasted 8 years, however, much has changed. “Today, in 134 countries of the world children begin education at the age of 6 at most,” Kluzik-Rostkowska continued. According to Poland’s new Prime Minister, one of the most important projects of the new government will be to bring back the old educational system. Kluzik-Rostkowska mentioned that 10 years ago, when Law and Justice was in power, the government was preparing an act lowering the age at which children would go to school to 6. The issue was not whether it was the right move or not, but it was a matter how soon Law and Justice could implement this change. “Today, children have so many developmental incentives that it is right to send them to school as soon as possible,” said Kluzik-Rostkowska. Moreover, the former Minister of National Education noted that children who had started their education at the age of 6 had better test results than those who had gone to school a year later. At the same time, Kluzik-Rostkowska fears that bringing back the old educational system will put teacher jobs at risk and raise costs for parents as 6-year old children will have to stay one year longer in kindergarten.

Duda Wave of Popularity

Duda in the House

Duda in the House

In the recent parliamentary elections, one surname was more popular with voters than any other. Candidates who share a surname with the President are particularly sought after. There are now three new MPs and one senator by the name of Duda. Interestingly enough, there was not a single MP called Duda in the previous parliament. Back then, the only Duda to be found in the parliament building was a Civic Platform (PO) senator, Jarosław. The new MPs, much like President Duda, came endorsed by Law and Justice (PiS) and include the uncle of the President. According to sociologist Jarosław Flis, this sudden popularity of candidates sharing the president’s surname calls into question reasons behind the candidates’ success. For instance, Elżbieta Duda managed to secure a seat with 6,555 votes despite being a relatively unknown local politician and standing for election from a low place on her party’s list. Another new MP, Jan Duda, active in Solidarity since the 1980s, garnered 9,100 votes. 8,085 voters chose the President’s uncle, Antoni, head of a local job centre. Interestingly, the previously mentioned PO senator and former deputy minister of labour Jarosław Duda was re-elected with 83,369 votes.

PiS Leads in Polls

Fot. Marek Podmokly / Agencja Gazeta

Beata Szydło – PM?

According to a survey conducted by Estymator for Newsweek, Law and Justice (PiS) could garner as much as 41% in the upcoming parliamentary elections. A result this high would allow the party to form a government on its own, without the need to form a coalition. The second largest party would be Civic Platform (PO), supported by 28% of respondents. The Kukiz Movement, the Polish People’s Party (PSL), and the United Left (ZL) coalition could each count on the support of 6% of voters. If these predictions are correct, only PiS, PO, PSL, and the Kukiz Movement will be represented in the new parliament, since ZL, as a coalition, would have to meet a higher electoral threshold in order to win any seats. Neither Ryszard Petru’s Modern Poland nor Korwin-Mikke’s newest formation would pass the electoral threshold, with 4% and 2% respectively. The steepest decline in support has been registered for Paweł Kukiz’s party: support for the rock star has plunged from 20% to 6% in just three months.

Leaders to Fight in Warsaw

Kopacz and Kaczyński

Kopacz and Kaczyński

Rumors that the Law and Justice deputy Beata Szydło will become its leader or at least truly independent have proved to be exaggerated. In Warsaw, the genuine leaders of the two largest parties in Poland will fight it out with each other during the upcoming parliamentary elections. Ewa Kopacz versus Jarosław Kaczyński. For a moment it seemed that the Law and Justice (PiS) candidate for Prime Minister (Beata Szydło) would represent PiS in Warsaw thus competing head to head with the current Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz who will represent Civic Platform (PO) in Warsaw. Any illusions were dispelled by Szydło herself. Not only did she indicate that she would be the candidate for Chrzanów, but also that everyone in PiS understands that if they win the elections this autumn, the real leader, directing the government from the back seat, will be Kaczyński. Szydło, when questioned by journalists about the rumours concerning her possible candidacy in the capital, said, “Jarosław Kaczyński is the head of Law and Justice and he will represent Warsaw”. The fact that Beata Szydło used the word “leader” about Kaczyński twice in one sentence shows both her total loyalty to the PiS head as well as a certain anxiety about Kaczyński not taking seriously her campaign image of being an ‘independent’ Prime Minister.

Last Hope for Left Wing?

Robert Biedroń

Robert Biedroń

In light of growing support for conservative parties and the devastating defeat of candidates endorsed by the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Your Movement (TR) in the recent presidential elections, the mayor of Słupsk Robert Biedroń is seen by many as the last hope for Poland’s left wing. Biedroń, encouraged by his supporters to run for president in the 2020 elections, does not want to commit to anything just yet, explaining that his plans do not extend that far into the future. When it comes to the precarious situation of the left wing before the upcoming parliamentary elections, Biedroń says that leftists need to find a ‘messiah’ of their own if they want to stop the conservatives from winning. For many voters with liberal or leftist inclinations, the recent presidential elections amounted to choosing between the plague or cholera, due to the fact that both candidates who made it to the second round represented conservative circles. In an interview for Gazeta Wyborcza, Biedroń complimented the newly elected president on his conciliatory character, but was quick to add that the ideology that Duda subscribes to is at odds with his own character: “I know that he will impose a conservative, fundamentalist worldview on us. I’m worried about it because Andrzej Duda, much like Law and Justice (PiS), holds reactionary views, which increase divisions and are detrimental to seeing the state as a cohesive unit.”