On October 13th, a parliamentary election will take place in Poland. After four years of the Law and Justice party (PiS) in government, this is a much-awaited ballot. Most probably, however, the result will not determine whether the current political course will continue—but rather how radical it will be. As of today, there is no serious competition to the PiS in sight.
The 2019 European Parliament election brought a visible decline in the popularity of the
centre-left and relatively good results for all kinds of right-wing populists are unsettling.
Fortunately, this tilt to the right is not significant enough to meaningfully affect the functioning
of the European Union. Looking at the election results in the Visegrád countries (V4), we see
how much they were determined by the dynamics of the domestic political scene.
This month, the Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini of the Lega, travelled in search of possible partners for a ‘European spring’ alliance —‘a new plan for Europe’—comprising similar right-wing, populist, Eurosceptic movements. On his way, he had to stop by in Poland, governed since 2016 by the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which seems a natural partner for this enterprise.
In the 2015 parliamentary elections, the results of the Polish Left were not good enough to enable them to win seats in the Polish parliament. Today, the biggest problem on the path towards challenging the governing national-conservative PiS party is that left wing parties are fragmented. Maria Skora looks back at the last elections and paints a picture of the state of the Left in Poland.
2015 brought significant political changes to Poland. It proved to be a great election comeback by the Law and Justice Party (PiS). Although new faces have appeared in the Parliament (MPs), this refreshing change did not prevent the monopolisation of political power: after 10 years in opposition, PiS won the most seats in both chambers of the Polish parliament.
The refugee crisis has exposed cracks in the EU’s political foundations. Failure to agree over how to implement refugee quotas and inability to coordinate humanitarian actions has allowed Eurosceptics to vaunt their populist talents. Information chaos has wreaked havoc in Europe, radicalising public opinion. The Right joined forces, holding a hard line on immigration policy while appeals for solidarity and common action crashed against the opposition of the Visegrad countries – two of them run by ‘social democrats’. Thus, the refugee crisis has also exposed the crisis of the European left and its internal axiological incoherence.
Recently I have had the great pleasure of participating in an event commemorating what would have been Willy Brandt’s 100th birthday in Berlin. During the conference we elaborated on his legacy together with his old friend Egon Bahr. The discussions were very inspiring, however they led to the sad conclusion that Willy Brandt is not enough remembered in Central and Eastern Europe.