This autumn, Poland will hold elections for parliament and for president. Here is a list of the candidates for president in order of popularity in the opinion polls.
A former prime minister and foreign secretary, and now speaker of parliament, Cimo is a late entry into the race and in the lead in the opinion polls at the moment. He is from the current ruling, left wing SLD – the ex-communists.
Is seen as an experienced politician, knows all the main international leaders, and has kept himself relatively clear of the corruption scandals that have plagued the SLD government. His politics are basically social democrat. His campaign team is headed by Jolanta Kwasniewska, the current First Lady. Owns a pig farm.
Expect to see him in the second round of voting against a right wing challenger.
Cimo’s main rival and right wing challenger. He’s the mayor of Warsaw and, alongside his twin brother, Jaroslaw, is the founder of the populist Law and Justice Party. An old mate of Lech Welesa till they had a major falling out after the fall of communism and Solidarity became increasingly fractious.
His policies are pretty representative of Poland’s rightwing. Economically he is actually quite left wing (Confused? Then welcome to the weird world of Polish politics). Protectionist. He is suspicious of EU. Basically a Christian democrat. When he became mayor he vowed to clean up the corrupt bureaucracy and sweep all the prostitutes from the streets. The second of these aims was slightly ambitious as even the Taliban found that it was easier to ban music and dancing than it was to stop men paying for their hand jobs. Unsurprisingly, Warsaw is still a good market for the ladies.
Kaczynski has got a bit of an unhealthy obsession with gays and lesbians. Tried to ban Gay Pride this year and last. Many think this obsession comes from the fact that his twin brother, Jaroslaw - already in his mid to late fifties - is not yet married.
Expect him to come second in the first round, and then fight it out with Cimoszewicz in the second.
One of the leaders of the Civil Platform, a center/right party that is popular with the small middle class in Poland. Low, flat tax policies, privatization etc. Socially, surprisingly conservative, although he is one of the most liberal in the thatcherite Civic Platform. Tries to keep quiet on controversial subjects such as abortion.
Tusk is a Kashubian, an ethnic minority from the northwest of the country. Looks Scottish. A year ago he would have been one of the favourites, but has since lost ground due to almost stealth campaigning. He will struggle to broaden support.
This is the anti-politics candidate. A famous heart surgeon who thinks that Poland needs his intensive care. Policies? Er…not really got any, apart from giving the country bypass surgery.
Leader of the farmer’s union/party Samoobrona (SelfDefence). Looks like an ex-boxer due to the fact that he was one. Has what could be described as a pugnacious style. Others say that he’s a bit of a political thug. Generally reactionary, xenophobic, but seen by his rural/semi rural supporters as a man of sincerity. Political observers call him an opportunistic attention seeker.
One of the ex-communist rats to jump from the sinking SLD government-ship. But, an ex-commie is an ex-commie, and if your name is not Cimoszewicz and you are a communist, then you are going to be electoral mincemeat this autumn, comrade.
From the League of Polish families, who sound like a baby-sitting circle, but you would not want to leave your kids with this lot. Christian nationalists and crypto fascists. He is a MEP in Brussels.
From the Polish Peasants Party, a kind of rural ex-communist party. Shouldn’t bother the tellers on election night too much.
There is also a herd of wannabies, cranks and no-hopers who I will deal with at a later date.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Posted by beatroot at 8/06/2005