Polish ‘populist’ is pressing for withdrawal from Iraq
Now that a new coalition has finally been formed between nationalists Law and Justice, Self defense and League of Polish Families, foreign policy could look a little different from the unquestioning pro-Americanism that has been characteristic of the whole of the Polish political class up until now.
The war in Iraq, where Poland is participating with a token 900 troops, has never been popular here and a majority think that ‘our boys’ should come home.
After the election last autumn, however, President Lech Kaczynski announced that army would be in the war torn country until at least the end of the year.
No party has dared to distance itself from the United States. Until now.
We have yet to be presented with concrete policies by the new coalition – on anything! - but new Vice-Premier, Andrzej Lepper makes clear that there will be some changes:
"The coalition agreement says nothing about Iraq. We are still against our military presence there and if it comes to a vote in parliament, we will oppose (extending the stay)...We want to withdraw our troops from Iraq and we will try to convince the president."
But the move has little chance of success. The whole Polish political establishment has made a point of identifying itself with the US for its defense. Getting a populist (i.e. popular?) move such as a withdrawal through parliament is a long shot.
But at least one political party is in tune with the ordinary Poles on this issue. Strange that it has to come from such an unlikely direction!
A surprise Polish coalition government, Polish Outlook, May 6
Lepper: `I'm no fascist', Haaretz.com, May 6 (hat tip - Eugene)