The Law and Justice government's choice of coalition partners is giving Poland a dubious reputation with journalists and politicians internationally. And it might be worse than they think.
The UK Daily Telegraph reports that a coalition was finally agreed, Friday, between the minority government and its new special buddy.
‘After months of playing footsie, the ruling Law and Justice party today jumped into bed with the militantly anti-reform, ultra-nationalist, left-wing Self Defence party.
This afternoon, the two parties signed a coalition agreement that is expected to give a top cabinet post, probably the deputy prime ministership, to the Self Defence leader, Andrzej Lepper.
Mainstream Polish politicians despise Mr Lepper, a loud-mouthed, populist enemy of free trade, to the extent that his arrival may well trigger the resignation of the foreign minister, Stefan Meller.’
Other cabinet ministers rumoured to be lining up to jump ship are Finance Minister, Zyta Gilowska, Health Minister Zbigniew Religa and possibly Radek Sikorski, who is at Defense.
As this blog reported sometime ago, the Telegraph piece suggests that David Cameron, the new, 'green' and 'inclusive' leader of the British Conservative party, should think twice before making alliances with these people in the European parliament, as is his plan. And it’s making some in his party a little nervous:
‘A while back, a pretty unflinching [British conservative] Eurosceptic MEP [said he] would not want to sit with Law and Justice if they forged a formal alliance with Lepper and gave him a seat in the Polish cabinet.’
The article mentions Law and Justice’s cosy relationship with the ultra-catholic, anti-semitic Radio Maryja (see also Polish Taliban, below) and its rampant homophobia, but then quickly adds that, “Nobody is accusing Law and Justice, or Self-Defence, of anti-Semitism.” [my emphasis]
But somebody has accused them of just that in the past…
This is from a report by the aniti-racist Stephen Roth Institute in 2003. On Andzrej Lepper’s Samoobrona party it says:
‘…in several regions it has been infiltrated by known extreme right, and even neo-Nazi, activists. In Szczecin and Koszalin its branches have provided political shelter for extreme nationalist neo-pagan groups such as Niklot (see ASW 2001/2) and Swiaszczyca, which consists of neo-Nazi skinheads and black metal music fans. Niklot leaders such as Igor Gorewicz ran, unsuccessfully, in the local elections on a Samoobrona ticket. In Lublin, Konrad Rekas was elected as a Samoobrona representative to the regional council. Rekas is a notorious extreme nationalist activist, a former member of Prawica Narodowa (National Right – PN).
Samoobrona’s links with the extreme right are further illustrated by the decision of its leader, Andrzej Lepper, to appoint antisemitic publisher Leszek Bubel to run the party weekly newspaper, also called Samoobrona. Bubel is notorious for having published extremely racist material such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion... He was also one of the instigators of provocative actions during the controversies over the Auschwitz crosses and the Jedwabne pogrom (see ASW 2000/1 and 2001/2). Cooperation between Lepper and Bubel ceased in April 2003, apparently for financial reasons.'
On the ruling Law and Justice party the report says:
‘Law and Justice – (PiS) is the main conservative party in Poland [...]. It absorbed a number of nationalist activists, notably the well known MPs Michal Kaminski (notorious for his public support of the traditional antisemitic slogan “Poland for the Polish”)and Marcin Libicki (a veteran member of the extremist organization PN, known for his vigorous opposition to the restitution of property to former Jewish owners).’
Michal Kaminski is now PiS representaive at the Euro parliament, one of David Cameron's future chums.
The government is also trying to woo members of the anti-semitic League of Polish Families away from their party and into their little cabal.
David Cameron and British Conservative MEPs be warned – your new cuddly flirt with the British electorate could be tarnished by making friends with weirdo politicians from Poland.