Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Rockstar is main winner in Polish elections

The shock results of Poland’s presidential elections has left the governing Civic Platform party scrambling for answers as a new populist right-wing movement looks set to take hold in the country.

Sunday’s first round saw Andrzej Duda, a young candidate from the main opposition centre-right party Law and Justice, receive 34.76 percent of the votes while Paweł Kukiz, a rock star and political rebel with a fondnesss for populistic rhetoric, scooped over 20 percent, becoming the third most popular candidate.

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  • Kukiz is shaking up Poland's political scene (Photo: http://kukiz.org/)

The biggest loser in the vote was Bronisław Komorowski, the current president from Civic Platform, who lost almost half of his supporters during campaign and came in second.

“Bronisław Komorowski gave up almost without a fight. He was too sure about his victory and didn’t bother to do a real campaign. Now he has to face a strong opponent in the second round and anything may happen,” Radosław Markowski, Professor at the Warsaw-based University of Social Sciences and Humanities, told this website.

Blow for the left

Duda and Komorowski are now trying to catch Kukiz supporters – mainly young people who feel disenfranchised – in the run-off on 24 May.

Meanwhile the elections represent a major defeat for left-wing parties.

Magdalena Ogórek, a little-known TV anchor and candidate for the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) – for a long time the biggest left-wing post communist party in Poland – only got 2.38 percent of the votes, a third of what the party achieved in the last presidential election.

Adam Jarubas from the coalition party Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) managed 1.6 percent of the votes, one fifth of the party’s support in the last vote.

Centre-left MEP Krystyna Łybacka also highlighted the absence of important European topics in the campaign.

“Nobody talked about Poland joining the eurozone, about the challenges of the European Semester or the demographic situation, like Poland’s ageing population.”

It is very worrying that presidential candidates in one of the biggest EU countries don’t discuss such issues,” she told EUobserver.

Wind of change

Presidential elections results are usually an accurate precursor of parliamentary elections, due to be held in October.

If Komorowski loses the second round and Duda becomes a president, it will give Law and Justice a serious chance to regain power after eight years of being in opposition.

Kukiz, the rock star, has already announced that he is building a party to run in the parliamentary elections.

He sees the EU as a club containing two classes of member states - those from the West and those from the East - with little solidarity between the two.

He has previously said that Poland was only admitted to the EU so that Germany could export to Polish markets and get the country's cheap labour and that Germany will one day "sell" Poland to Russia.

“Their euroscepticism is maybe not about Poland leaving EU, but is based a lot on fairly simple, predominantly economic, not ethnic, nationalist ideas and the idea of Central Eastern Europe countries being second-class member states. That translates into the politics of distrust on the European scene,” Markowski said.

Opinion

Poland: Duda victory isn't what you think

Many European commentators have said Duda's victory means Poland has shifted to the right. But the result is more of a protest against an out-of-touch elite.

Chemnitz neo-Nazis pose questions for Germany

UN human rights commissioner urged EU leaders to condemn violence that recalled the 1930s, but the local situation in former East Germany does not apply to the whole country.

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