Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Polish Elections Are Next

From the BBC: Analysis: Polish election battle
Two centre-right parties are expected to defeat Poland's governing ex-communists in parliamentary elections on Sunday.
(Perhaps they remember the Katyn Forest massacre.)

This, however, is a case of "the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend":
Civic Platform and Law and Justice have been running neck-and-neck in opinion polls - with a combined opinion poll score of between 60 and 70%.

They have already announced their intention to form a coalition government - with the party that wins more seats getting the post of prime minister.

But in the absence of a strong challenge from the Left, the two parties have, in recent days, taken to attacking each other.

Law and Justice, in particular, has worked hard to capture part of the ex-Democratic Left Alliance vote - stressing its commitment to social welfare and accusing Civic Platform of trying to conduct a "liberal experiment" on the nation.

Nonetheless, most observers expect there will be a two-party centre-right government.

One issue the two would need to iron out is taxation. Civic Platform wants to introduce a flat 15% rate for income tax, corporation tax and VAT. Law and Justice says this is unfair.

Civic Platform wants Poland to adopt the euro as soon as possible. Law and Justice says Poland's priority should be growth.

Leaning to West

What kind of foreign policy would the two pursue?

Both parties say they want to maintain Poland's close relations with the US and to play an assertive role in the EU.

Both see Russia as a potential strategic threat - and say Poland should seek to diversify its sources of oil and gas.

But while Civic Platform would also like to work closely with Germany, Law and Justice is more prone to nationalist rhetoric.
Read the full article to find out what Poland's "Fourth Republic" might look like.