It feels a little like Groundhog Day, but we appear to be on the verge on an early election. Again.
A row within the ruling coalition over the amount and type of government spending in the 2007 Budget Bill has given one of the minority parties – Samoobrona – the chance to leave the government after being seen to be fighting for causes popular with its constituents – farmers and poorer Poles.
The announcement of more troops to Afghanistan – a deployment too far for many – has seemingly given extra impetus to Andzej Lepper’s (photo above, in favourite pose) threat that he will not support the Budget.
PM Jarolsaw Kaczynski said:
‘Andrzej Lepper has to decide whether he wants to govern and change Poland, whether he wants to serve his electorate in the countryside and small towns, or whether he wants to destroy it all. One thing is obvious, it’s impossible to go on governing in this way, from one quarrel to the other, because it’s totally ineffective.’
We have been here before. Many times. The difference to the many previous ‘election scares’ over the past year is that both minority parties have been in the government for a few months and can demonstrate to their constituencies that they have ‘done their best’ but the ‘big bad nasty government is unbending, and we can leave the government with our honour intact’.
We also have a resurgent opposition PO in the opinion polls.
The latest survey, which is inline with recent polls, puts the free market PO at 30 percent, with the majority party in the ruling coalition PiS at 24 percent (minus 1 in the beatroot’s PiSed-Off index).
A few months ago, when PO declined the opportunity for another election, polls were showing that Poles did not want another election so soon after the last one. But now the mood has changed. People are fed up with the uncertainty of a coalition at war with itself.
It’s difficult for LPR (which has a declining support) but for Samoobrona and PO the temptation to go to the country must now be very tempting.
The Budget Bill should be finalized by the end of the month. But a meeting began today among the three coalition parties will resume tomorrow. So something has got to give soon. Six months ago the government would have expected to win an election. Now they are not so sure. But the chances, and the will, to pull another late rabbit from another late hat is receding tonight.