Monday

26th Feb 2018

Focus

Polish radicals could get into EU parliament

  • Janusz Korwin-Mikke - known for his bow ties amongst other things (Photo: Piotr Drabik)

An anti-European, economically liberal and socially extremely conservative party is polling to scoop up to three of Poland's seats in the EU elections later this month as it cashes in on the country's protest vote.

The New Right party is headed up by a 72-year old anti-establishment figure, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who has proclaimed that "democracy is stupid".

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"We will sell the site of the European Parliament and turn it into a brothel" is how he describes his aim in the European elections in Do Rzeczy, a weekly. "The creators of this pink decay should be tarred, feathered and hurtled through the streets of Brussels."

Korwin-Mikke is especially popular among voters in their 20s, as his simple solutions appeal to young people. His party is currently polling at 4-6 percent. Reaching the 5 percent electoral threshold means it could win several seats.

In terms of economics, he is an extreme libertarian; making even the American Tea Party look mild by comparison. He believes taxes should be all but abolished and the state should only be responsible for the army and police. He once publicly ate his tax return as a sign of protest.

Korwin-Mikke wants to shut down the "socialist" EU. He would also like to deprive women of their right to vote. He is in favour of capital punishment and a ban on abortion, against civil partnerships and the presence of people with disabilities in public life.

He got involved in politics in the 1960s and was arrested twice for his activity in opposition. When Communism was crumbling in Poland, he created his first libertarian party. Many prominent members of the Civic Platform (PO), which is currently in power, started their career in his grouping, including the government's former spokesman, Pawel Gras, or Slawomir Nitras, an MEP.

No other Polish politician has run in elections so many times: since 1989, he has run for president four times, six times for MP, twice for senator, once for MEP and twice for mayor of Warsaw. He has only won once – in 1991, when he succeeded in getting a seat in the Sejm, Poland's parliament.

He is also known for wearing a bow tie and being a professional bridge payer. When Tomasz Tomczykiewicz (PO) recently mentioned that Korwin-Mikke once drank wine straight from the bottle, he claimed, for revenge, that his competitor had raped the waitress. He later said he was joking.

No political fuel for Poland's far-right

Why is Poland one of the few European countries where far-right parties are almost non-existent? Low immigration and an economy in relatively good shape could be part of the answer.

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Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

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There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

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