It’s going to be called LiS – ‘lis’ is Polish for fox.
Stop sniggering…it’s true – Andrzej Lepper’s Samoobrona (Self defense) party and Roman Giertych’s Christian nationalist Liga Polskich Rodzin (League of Polish Families) will unite. Take the first letter of Samoobrona and the first letter from Liga, add an ‘i’ (and) and you get LiS.
When asked which of them would be the leader of LiS, Lepper said that it would probably be a joint leadership: “Me - balanced, calm and serious. Vice premier Giertych - eloquent, intelligent, witty.”
One possible election slogan for the new LiS party, says Lepper, could be: ‘Strong as a lion, cunning as a fox’.
Is this man on drugs?
But why and how, I hear you cry, would an ex-Stalinist like Lepper (previously a member of the old Polish communist party) and an uber-Catholic nationalist like Giertych get together and form a party? What have they in common, ideologically?
Well, not much, really. Policy-wise though, they both want to de-privatize much of what was sold off after 1989. They both want to limit foreign influence and renegotiate Poland’s membership of the EU. But that’s just about it.
What they have most in common, of course, is that both their parties have little support left in the country after a year and a half in the coalition government with PiS, and if an election was held now they would be left with no members of parliament at all.
Hence the emergence of LiS – the cunning fox. Lepper thinks that if they stand together they could get, ‘around 17 percent of the vote…’.
I think that is more than wishful thinking. I think voters will see it for what it is: the naked opportunism of two desperate men. LPR voters, what’s left of them, won’t stomach voting for Lepper, who has just been thrown out of government on suspicion of being involved in a corrupt land deal. And there are lots of other Christian nationalists to vote for that are outside Giertych’s party – like Marek Jurek’s PiS splinter group, for instance.
This unbelievable new alliance – LiS – looks less like a cunning fox, and more like a dumb, mangy old mongrel.