After Civic Platform’s (PO) leading dandy, Jan Rokita, gave his support to Law and Justice candidate in the second round of the election for Mayor of Krakow (taking place this Sunday) talk of splits within the opposition are rife. No surprise, really.
Rokita is backing historian Ryszard Terlecki, the Law and Justice (PiS) candidate, because is a ‘good guy’ and someone he knows as a fellow Krakovian from the old days of knocking around at the Jagiellonian University. It was either that or back the popular leftist candidate and incumbent mayor Jacek Majchrowski (who got 42% of the vote in the first round).
Some members of PO - whose own candidate came third, and is disqualified from the second round - are outraged by this treachery. Leader of PO Donald Tusk is publicly trying to calm things down, emphasizing that all hands should be on deck pulling together to get Law and Justice out of local government. Behind closed doors, however, you can imagine the screaming match going between Platform’s two main political figures.
In a way though, this division between Tusk and Rokita has always been there, waiting to come to the surface.
Rokita has always been a reluctant member of Civic Platform. When it formed in 2000 Rokita didn’t initially join. He was a member of the Conservative People's Party (SKL), a right wing offshoot of the Freedom Union, the most liberal of the parties to emerge from the Solidarity trade union. He only threw his (extravergant) hat into the ring with Platform when he saw much of the membership of SKL drift over to the new party.
But the ideological differences remained. Rokita is a freemarket conservative, much in the same way as Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz is. Tusk is on the more liberal wing of the party.
So Platform – like all Polish political parties – is a split waiting to happen.
How this will affect the second round of elections on Sunday where PO has a candidate is unclear, although voters don’t usually like parties with obvious internal divisions. What’s certain though is that the race of Mayor of Krakow is going to be a tight one.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Posted by beatroot at 11/21/2006