Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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.
Posted by beatroot at 10/25/2011