Poland now under PO control

The second round of the Polish presidential elections are over. The moderate candidate Bronislaw Komorowski from the governing PO has won over the last Kaczynski brother. This will hopefully set the end of the PiS/Kaczynski era in Polish politics.

Probably no other political figure/family as the Kaczynskis has attracted so much attention in Germany over the past years. Even worse, no other figure has evoked so much good-bad sentiments as the PiS (Kaczynski) vs PO (Tusk) competition. German media and also the progressive left (particularly leading Greens) have kept on portraying Tusk-PO as the great and pure good.This is a fair point when it comes to foreign policy, EU and lustration issues – and these are very important questions. However, a little less external advice and black-and-white-painting towards Polish voters, might have been of help more often. It is also easy to point at the Kaczynskys for what they stood for. But I wish the same broad criticism would also have been extended to Silvio Berlusconi who is possibly even more of a threat to Italian and European democracy than the Polish “potatoes“.

As much as PO deserves credit for bringing back reason to Polish politics, I wish commentators would also look at their specific policies with a little more detail. The energy-environmental policy of the current government is a desaster. As solid coal defenders and nuclear promoters, their horizon goes as far forward as the 1970s. The stupid Kaczynski vs PO competition over the last years has also covered a much more serious long-term challenge of Polish democracy: the inexistence of a viable centre-left party – not to mention a credible Green Party.

Now with PO in solid power, I assume that PiS-Kaczynski will be weakened and might disappear over the coming years. This is the chance for a revival of the left. They should grab it, to bring Polish domestic politics back into the European mainstream.

4 thoughts on “Poland now under PO control

  1. Aymeric

    I don’t see the PiS and Kaczynski weakened or disappearing over the years, on the contrary. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has just showed how moderate he can be, and his score is more than satisfying. It’s very promising actually. Unfortunately. But Kaczynski and the PiS seem clearly not outdated.

    Concerning the revival of the Polish left – well… Everything depends on them. 13% was a very good score in the Polish context. Achieving 30% will require a little bit more than just a young and fresh candidate.

    Concerning coal mining and nuclear energy, I find you really really harsh.

  2. Jan Post author

    Valid point about Kaczynski. What will be interesting is how he will play it over time when PO is in power – and he is not. Will he loose appetite at some point?

    Why am I harsh about coal and nuclear?

  3. Aymeric

    Well, it’s a harsh because Germany, for instance, has already invested a lot in renewables, however, renewable energies only represent 9% of the German final energy consumption in 2008, against 8% in Poland.

    I mean that developing renewables is far from being an easy task, as the German example shows. And it also depends on the assets of the territory you’re living in. Apparently, the only EU countries that already reached high shares of renewables mainly rely on offshore windfarms (Denmark) and biomass / wood (Finland, Baltic states). Does Poland have the assets for that? I don’t know. But the reason why they are investing in nuclear power is because they want to phase out coal-fired / thermal plants. What would you like them to invest in instead of nuclear?

  4. Jan Post author

    Renewables obviously.
    No nuclear power plant in a western democracy has been built without massive direct and/or indirect state subsidies (US, Finland etc). You better take that money and put it into a much safer renewables net. How come Poland is not developing offshore wind farms on the scale of its northern and western baltic neighbours?

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