Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zbigniew Ziobro is no messiah – he's just a very naughty boy

What does a political party do when it loses successive elections? It starts to eat itself – just like a fox eats its paws, eventually, after it has spent a while caught in a trap.

Mariusz Błaszczak was reselected today to lead the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) in parliament, amid a row which could see the expulsion of a former rising star from the party – Zbigniew Ziobro: a populist politician when he was in cabinet, but who is now seen by leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski to be a threat to his authority and the unity of the conservative Law and Justice itself.

Blaszczak, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's man, got the vote today of 141 Law and Justice MPs and senators, with just 22 voting against. But paranoia was in the air, with Jaroslaw Kaczynski supervising the count personally. There is an air of conspiracy and power-play in Law and Justice, as it faces another four years in opposition.

The defeat in the 9 October parliamentary elections – which followed successive elections where party candidates have done badly – has forced Ziobro to make his move. And he's going to get kicked out of the party for doing so.

Ziobro is currently serving time as a member of the European Parliament, where he has been trying to fashion a statesman-like image (and failing miserably to make much impact at all among the eurocrats). He has been an almost Shakespearian figure (I said 'almost') waiting in the wings for his moment of greatness to come upon him.

He was once Mr Justice in the Law and Justice party when he was justice minister, in the mould of Lech Kaczynski, when he was in the same office. He was the heir-apparent to the populist-mantle worn by the Kaczynski brothers.

And then Civic Platform toppled them from power. Ziobro, meanwhile, went to Brussels.

But now he's back, showing his hand.

After Law and Justice got trounced, again, in the elections on 9 October, Ziobro called for “more democratic” decision-making within the party, a dig at party chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski's autocratic style of leadership.

Ziobro, who was careful to distance himself from the party leadership during the recent doomed election campaign, muted the idea this week that if Law and Justice can't get elected as one party then they may as well split into constituent parts – centerist and nationalist – and develop their own electorates.

Expect Ziobro to be expelled within the next few days. Kaczynski told party members at a behind closed doors party meeting today, reports the PAP news agency, that: “The Ziobro issue must be dealt with quickly and decisively”.

In the last 12 months, bits of Law and Justice have been falling off. Moderate bits are with the now parliamentary seat-less Poland Comes First (PJN). Ziobro, with MEP Jacek Kurski and others, will become yet another PiS-splinter group, as the conservative-national party begins to flake like pastry, possibly condemning them to endless opposition.


Anonymous said...

PiS is going to look like AWS years ago, with hundreds of little parties. You will see soon.

Brian May said...

All this is good news to my ears ;-) But I wonder what could a centerist PIS bring more on the table that already did PO ?

beatroot said...

There already is a centerist PiS - it's called Poland Comes First and got nowhere. The Ziobro thing is not really about ideology, maybe - more about the leadership of Kaczynski...who ziobro et al (he is seen going everywhere at the moment, at the airport, in euro parliament canteen, with Jacek Kurski...a firbrand attack dog type politician and one who will probably get kicked out with him) think is an electoral liability.

Problem for PiS is - how much is the party a vehicle for Kaczynski? That's always been the question ever since he and his brother launched the thing years ago. No Kaczor, no PiS?

<> said...

Seems that PiS is essentially powerless now and K-ski will continue at its helm. He will continue to say and do stupid things until he dies. Best to just ignore him and PiS, probably. Figure I need to change my nom de plume. Next time.

??? said...

Uh, dunno know why <>< got published as <> So it goes.

ge'ez said...

Fuckin' heh. I hate computers.

beatroot said...

Yeah, I don't think '<&gt' is going to catch on as a tag name on the internet webby thing.

Geez...bruvver...me old geezer mate from the Colonies...I don't think you can single out Kurski for all this. Ziobro and Kurski were the two best populist politicians in PiS after the Kaczynskis a few years ago. They press the right buttons for the PiS hard core. This is a war for the soul of PiS.

last ge'ez said...

I meant K-aczyn-ski. Kurski ain't at the helm. What makes the latter such a "firebrand'? I haven't really kept up with Polish politix since your exit so I don't know anything about him.

rolnik_jaś said...

love the pic - very billy bunter :)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he's a softie at heart but Ziobro always strikes me as resembling one of the proverbial men in white coats. But not your nice, teddy bear type doc. More the guy from a straight to vid 80s horror film who administers lethal injections. I think it's the glasses that do it, and the intensely furrowed brow of course. Of course, he may well be a teddy bear though..

beatroot said...

Geez...Kurski used to be very prominent on the media in Poland when he was an MP and not what he is now...a member of the European Parliament. In Poland, MEPs have a status in politics that they do not have in somewhere like the UK, where MEPs are politicians which are shunted off the Brussels after their main career in the house of commons has finished. They are put out to grass.

So Kurski used to be a viscious PiS attack god and big star, like Ziobro.

S. Omebody said...

And they lash/ed out at Tusk, et. al. in Civic Platform? What was/were their big issue/s? Attack dogs for Kaczynski(s)or in some manner independently? Like I said, I haven't been keeping up given especially that PiS seems to have been permanently put out to pasture. If the two renegades form their own splinter party now, who/what will be their main target? Aside from Kaczynski?

beatroot said...

Ziobro, if anything is an even more hardliner than Kaczynski. But Ziobro has auggested that by spltting into smaller elements each new bit of PiS can nurture and electorate so they can be a coalition within parliament. That means that PiS and the other bits of PiS are essentially chasing the same electorate...which to me seems senseless. And ineffective as an opposition to Tusk.

Anonymous said...

you gotta love Polish politics. They really love to squabble - always a conspiracy - and end up with these crazy little parties - Law and Justice, Self Defence, Palikot etc.. Meanwhile the party in power all smiles and nice colourful posters sits on its hands and does hee haw - no restructuring of civil service, health service is a shame on an EU member, roads are worst in Europe, educated people emigrate, church meddles in all forms of public life literally from cradle to grave. What option after PO then that must be PiS - Law and order - run by an unmarried guy whose closest friend is his cat and who has never had a bank account.

What I find strange is that characters like Ziobro would not make it my company beyond the security guard on the door. There are Poles with far higher ideals, morals, ideas and drive than anything we see in the political class. Sooner this lot get off their backsides and do something the better. until then Poland will remain stuck as the sick man of europe

beatroot said...

Polish politics has in fact stabilised over the last decade.

During the 1990s there were hundreds – almost literally – of political parties springing up and then fading away. But now we have basically: a classic European centre-right christian-democratic party (tusk's gang), a post-communist left, a conservative-statist Law and Justice and the odd wildcard, like Palikot...oh, and the always-present PSL in coalition. Basically, four parties.

I think anonymous comment from above is from someone who has been brought up in a stable democracy where the same parties have existed for decades, centuries. In Poland, party politics is still a new game that has just settled down.

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