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.