Monday, September 26, 2005

Is the General Election result bad news for Tusk?

Many are wondering how a win for Law and Justice (PiS) and the low turnout will have consequences for the October 9 presidential election.

I have to say that I have been meeting some very disappointed people this morning. Things started to look bad for Civic Platform (PO) last Friday. The guy who does PR for Donald Tusk was heard saying that support was shifting slightly away from PO and to PiS. Apparently their own in-house polling was telling them that the PO brand was being seen as middle class and business orientated. Unsurprisingly, those not in those groups, and particularly those on fixed incomes like pensions and unemployment benefits were worried about how low tax and radical cuts in government spending would affect them.

Gustav (see comments) thinks that a win for Law and Justice is bad for Civic Platform’s Tusk. But maybe it makes things better for him. Jaroslaw Kaczunski’s comment that he will only take the PM job if his twin bruv Lech looses the presidential elections is good news for Tusk. Voters have been telling focus groups for sometime now that they do not want to see twin brothers in the two top jobs. And who can blame them?

The presidential campaign has overshadowed the presidential one – big time. I saw a Vox Pop on TVN last week and most people seemed to think that last Sunday’s election was the presidential one! They must have got a shock when they turned up to the opinion poll only to be given what looks like an examination paper with loads and loads of names on it.

The turnout – which at just under 40% is low even by Polish standards – might just have an influence, though. Are people going to drag themselves out for possibly two more elections?

But as Michael Farris says below, the presidential job is ill defined, and actually, not very important. The Polish president is a toothless beast, with only the power of veto and no real policy making abilities.

The real power is in parliament –and that now lies with a bunch of ill matched conservatives and free-marketeers. Expect lots and lots of bitching in the weeks to come.


Gustav said...

What I'm afraid this represents is a shift in momentum (which began about a week ago). The PO/PiS battle has been played out as "social" versus "liberal" and Poles, predictably, are suspicious of moving away from the "social" model.

If Kaczyński twin #1 plays his cards right over the next two weeks (he'll have all the media attention) then he could just put his brother in the Presidential Palace. The wishy-washiness of Tusk that MF mentions is indeed scary. Might not Poles go the "strong leader" route and vote for Kaczyński #2? He's got nearly 20 points to make up, but PO has a history of choking at the last minute.

Rythin said...

Twenty points is indeed a lot, but let's not forget about those who will vote for minor candidates during the first round. What I'm trying to say is Kaczynski will probably get votes from the supporters of the nationalists in the secound round (LPR, Self Defence and the rest).

Tusk, on the other hand, will probably be supported by H. Bochniarz and all parties of the center.