Extraordinary scenes today as two populist parties sign a pact with the Law and Justice (PiS) government, and the mainstream media boycott the press conference.
After the election two minority parties must have dreamed of forming a coalition with PiS and having nice little jobs in the executive. Or they could force the government into an early election. And then their opinion poll ratings took a dive and it’s no longer in both parties’ interest to have an election. Radio Polonia reports:
The ruling conservative Law and Justice party has signed a stabilization pact with two opposition groups – the far-left Self-Defence and the nationalist Leaque of Polish Families. Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczynski has said the agreement ends the parliamentary crisis and paves the way for creating the Fourth Republic. The stabilization pact, concluded for an initial period of 12 months, provides for wide-ranging state reforms, including the establishment of a new anti-corruption body and of a special committee to re-examine Poland’s post-communist past. The document is said to include a commitment of the three parties to push over 140 bills through Parliament.
So they have signed a stabilization pact with the government which, effectively, acts as a gagging order. For 12 months they must refrain from criticizing the government, and have signed up to vote for over one hundred different government laws and proposals before they have even seen the final version of those laws and proposals.
When PiS originally offered them a pact it was only for six months, and they rejecting the offer, trying to call PiS's king deal maker, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's bluff (photo). But as PiS’s poll ratings got stronger, Kaczynski was able to force a one year agreement. The alternative was to go to the electorate – and that’s last thing Self defense (Sb) and League of Polish Families (LPR) wanted.
But PiS is not the only political force to see its stocks rise. The nationalist, catholic voice can now be heard deep within the government. PiS offered the ultra-catholic Radio Maryja (17% audience share?) and its televisual equivalant TV Trwam exclusive coverage of the signing of the pact. One government spokesman said that, “There are unreliable media [everyone but Maryja] and reliable media [Maryja]'. Period.
So incensed were public and private TV, radio and print journalists that they boycotted the press conference afterwards.
The government has effectively declared war on the media in Poland. Kaczynski said that the action of the media was ‘rude’ and they would have to 'take the consequences.'
They are also packing the new TV and Radio Council, which oversees media in Poland, grants licenses, etc, with their members, and reps from Sb and LPR.
So things are going to be interesting. It’s all starting to resemble a George Orwell novel.
But how long will the leaders of left-nationalist Sb – Andrzej Lepper - and the ultra-catholic LPR – Roman Giertych – be able to keep their mouths shut? Both are not known for their quiet and sensitive personalities. Both are in the habit of criticizing the government.
So how long has a stability pact got when the media are looking for blood, and two of the participants are volatile populists?
Answers on a postcard, please, to the usual address.
I have justed noticed that the wiki article on Radio Maryja is a contested one. This means that as soon as someone, say a anti-Maryja edits it, Radio maryja comes on and re-edits back in their favour. It's great stuff - read here.