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.
Newsweek

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.
tvn24

Namesakes Run for Mayor’s Office

The Real Grobelny?

The Real Grobelny?

In Poznań, two candidates with the same name are running for the mayor’s office. The electoral commission received two applications for the registration of an electoral committee with the name ‘Grobelny’ in it. First, on 29 August, the current mayor of Poznań registered his Ryszard Grobelny’s Time for Wielkopolska committee (Teraz Wielkopolska Ryszarda Grobelnego); however, under two weeks later, Grobelny’s List (Lista Grobelnego) showed up on the electoral commission’s doorstep. The mayor reacted immediately, asking if Civic Platform (PO) feared another defeat so badly that they had decided to reach for an old trick they tried over a decade ago when PO a businessman by the name of Ryszard Franciszek Grobelny took part in local elections. The mayor, who has held the office for four terms already, was not far off in his suspicions, however, this time the deception is the doing of the Real Politics Union (UPR). The electoral commission refused to register the second committee on the grounds that it would create confusion, so the committee agreed to change its name by adding the candidate’s given name, Bogdan. The current mayor has boldly declared he is not afraid of the competition.
tvn24.pl

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Sikorski Afraid of Neighbours

Radosław Sikorski

Radosław Sikorski

Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski has recently boasted about his firearm license being renewed. According to police statistics, he is one of only 21,000 Poles who can legally carry firearms for self-defence. Polish law in this regard is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Not only do applicants need to prove they are in “constant, real, and extraordinary danger” but they also need to undergo psychological evaluations every five years. Minister Sikorski, implicated in the wiretapping scandal earlier this year, has found the evaluation rather amusing as the doctor wanted to know if Sikorski felt that someone was listening in on his conversations. Despite the fact that up to 70% of all applications for firearm license are denied, Sikorski is one of many gun owners amongst Polish politicians. MP Arkadiusz Czartoryski (PiS) and MP Tomasz Kaczmarek (PiS) have suggested that politicians receive preferential treatment. “Nobody will risk saying ‘no’ to parliamentarians who want to carry firearms. However, in many instances, former law enforcement officers are denied the permit even though, I daresay, they are in much graver danger than ‘cheerful Radek’ [Radosław Sikorski],” said Kaczmarek, commenting on the information that Minister Sikorski applied for his license on the grounds that he resides 3 km from a prison.
tvn24.pl

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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%.
wp.pl

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Euro Election Spending

Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, during the first month of the campaign for the elections to the European parliament, Law and Justice (PiS) spent PLN 1.2m, Civic Platform (PO) spent PLN 0.5m and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) spent PLN 250,000 on their respective campaigns. Political parties which may have representation in all districts is allowed to spend a maximum of PLN 18m. Both PO and PiS wish to spend around PLN 10m. PO will give PLN 8m to local authorities which will be divided between candidates for individual campaigns. PiS candidates will receive much less: between PLN 2m and PLN 2.5 m. The euro-elections have not yet aroused the emotions of Polish people. The PiS YouTube video only garnered 19,000 views, whereas the PO video got 19,400.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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No Shopping on Sundays?

Praising the Lord on Sunday

Praising the Lord on Sunday

The Solidarity trade union would like to see a new law introduced that prohibits all kinds of trading after noon on Sunday. “I support it,” says Civic Platform (PO) senator Jan Rulewski; “I support it,” echoes Law and Justice (PiS) MP Stanisław Szwed, who has already forced through a bill that prohibits trade on major national and church holidays. “Sunday trading would start at dawn and last until noon. It would affect both shopping malls and small local shops. The only exception would be made for pharmacies, petrol stations and shops located at  airports and at train stations. Such shops could remain open the whole Sunday just as it is currently,” says Alfred Bujara, head of Solidarity’s commerce department. “We are forcing through this initiative out of concern for workers who in times of recession work much more than they used to. From January to September we have received at least 20% more complaints from people who are being exploited in shopping malls,” claims Bujara. In his opinion it is not uncommon that people are employed part-time, they are paid for part-time work, but are forced to work as if they were full-time employees. Or even work for two employees, because according to Solidarity estimates, there are over 200,000 job vacancies in commerce. Solidarity, during a special press conference in the Sejm, is supposed to soon inform the public about initiating work on the bill. The press conference will be opened by the leader of the PiS parliamentary grouping Przemysław Gosiewski. Jan Rulewski, the PO senator, will be the speaker for the bill.

Concrete Desert

Concrete Desert

“Working until noon on Sunday is a reasonable compromise between the expectations of the commerce industry, who complain that their profits will drop, and the expectations of employees, who are entitled to free time on Sunday,” says Rulewski. According to the PO senator any kind of trade should also be prohibited on Christmas Eve after noon. “I will discuss the idea with Minister Michał Boni and Minister of Labour and Social Policy Jolanta Fedak,” says Rulewski. Gosiewski does not want to comment on the idea of the unionists, but PiS’s commerce specialist, Stanisław Szwed, is an ardent supporter of the idea. For him, just as for Rulewski, it is another rational step towards prohibiting trade on Sunday altogether. An appropriate law came into force two years ago. “Nothing bad happened then and nothing will happen this,” says Szwed about Solidarity’s idea. What do shopkeepers think of the idea? “I am absolutely against it. Hopefully you did not expect any other kind of answer,” says Andrzej Maria Faliński from the Polish Organisation of Commerce and Distribution (POHiD). “Such ideas harm commerce as a whole. They harm small shops because they reduce the amount of time during which their owners can earn money and they harm big shopping malls, for which opening for a few hours is not profitable. It simply costs too much,” adds Faliński. What are the chances of introducing the new law? Most likely, Law and Justice (PiS) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) will vote in favour of the new bill while the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) will be against it. The biggest unknown is Civic Platform (PO), but according to Bujara there are many supporters of the new law in PO also.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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