The blog is a wonderful memory-refresher. It only takes to click “Polish presidential election in 2010” to bring back the sense of excitement with which I followed the run-up to the previous election, its course and ramifications. Five years ago I began blogging about the election several months in advance, a few weeks before Smolensk tragedy brought the election forward. Death of late president Lech Kaczynski and SLD-backed candidate, Jerzy Szmajdzinski, as well as sudden taking over as president-in-office by Mr Komorowski have left their mark on the campaign.
Five years ago politics at least brought about emotions. This year’s campaign is so lacklustre and bland that it can only exacerbate indifference of voters. The array of candidates and the way they run for presidency is a slap on the face to an educated voter. Prevalent weariness of politics among citizens should not come as a surprise then. Nevertheless, since minority of Poles entitled to vote will visit polling stations next Sunday (sadly, I fear turnout will not exceed 50%, nor even 40%), it is the last occasion to review the candidates…
1. Incumbent president, Bronislaw Komorowski. The style of his campaign closely resembles the style of his presidency. I recall in 2010 my opinion of Mr Komorowski was much better than today. As a head of state, he is just up-to-the-mark, predictable, yet mediocre, sagacious, yet committing one slip-up after another. Over the course of the campaign on top comatose and haughty. He holds his head up high and looks down on other candidates. Unreasonable statements, referring to other candidates’ competencies or calling the nation to settle the result in the first round, seemed out of place. Mr Komorowski is one of the most trusted politicians in Poland, yet on account of daft utterances, he has wasted much of the potential to win in the first round he had.
2. Andrzej Duda. Since Jarosław Kaczyński decided not to race for presidency, having in mind either ambitions to become a prime minister after parliamentary elections, or just fearing one more defeat by Mr Komorowski, Mr Duda was anointed as PiS’s candidate. Mr Duda builds his identity on heritage of late president Lech Kaczynski (he was a senior official in late president’s office). His image lacks the element of independent thinking, yet it will not be an obstacle for him in being the runner-up in the first round. Out of all candidates he has the biggest positive electorate of stalwart followers of PiS and the biggest negative electorate of other parties’ voters, who will never, ever put a cross against anyone affiliated with PiS. Oddly enough, Mr Duda does not strive to win over centrist voters. His hard-line stance on in-vitro, involvement in shielding credit unions from proper financial supervision and populist anti-Euro fear-mongering will rather put off moderate voters.
And now who stands a chance to get the third rank?
3. Janusz Korwin-Mikke. After swingeing victory in European Parliament last year, popularity of Mr JKM has only been on the rise. He ran for presidency in each single election after 1989, yet this is the first time he is quite likely to get support from voters higher than magnitude of statistical error. His advocates are mainly young males, yet many on account of not reaching the age of majority will not have the opportunity to vote…
4. Paweł Kukiz, a former rock-star, currently attempting to topple Polish politics. He declares he has no ambitions to be dubbed a politician and does much not to be treated as an actual politician. Unlike other candidates, who put on suits, he dons T-shirts during public appearances. He appeals to all Poles disillusioned with numbness of Polish political scene and calls on overthrowing the system. All in all, the essence of his agenda is to depose existing power-wielding gang, but what in return?
The two anti-systemic candidates above will conceivably garner some 15% of all votes; quite a lot if you keep in mind in mature democracies they would be both categorised as lunatics. Such high support for wacky candidates reflects on how much Poles are fed up with the never-ending battle between PO and PiS.
5. Adam Jarubas (the only one who lacks wikipedia entry in English). PSL was another party whose leader refused to run for presidency. The coalitional partner of PO decided to delegate the young, yet experienced marshal of Swietokrzyskie voivodeship for the presidential competition. Mr Jarubas emanates with energy and out of all party-backed candidates appears as the most independent-thinking. PSL has given him a lot of discretion in airing his views. He openly declares he would not sign Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, as the only meaningful candidate he is not eager to interfere in conflict between Russia and Ukraine and stresses Poland’s leading involvement in it has done us more harm than good, he stressed his scepticism towards Euro. Quite possibly Mr Jarubas might actually get a two-digit support and actually wish it on him, as he has potential to stand out in politics.
6. Magdalena Ogórek… Errr… There are several leftist politicians who have capacity to fulfil the role of president; Ryszard Kalisz and Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz just to mention two. But all sensible candidates have rejected proposals to run for presidency, SLD’s leader Leszek Miller also has not picked up the gauntlet and then out of blue, Mrs Ogórek emerged as an independent candidate, yet supported by SLD. I have no idea what the rationale behind that decision was and who masterminded this flop. Mrs Ogórek has set up her own way of running the campaign and apparently spiralled out of SLD’s control. Rumours about discord between Mrs Ogórek and her intendants from SLD have been denied, yet one can feel something is amiss. Mrs Ogórek, as the only woman running for presidency, is the prettiest candidate, yet I am not genuinely enchanted by her beauty. I actually can say little of her beauty, since I have not even seen her without make-up… Plus whenever I see her speaking, lack of naturalness is so eye-popping that I do not find her trustworthy.
7. Janusz Palikot. In 2011 he was a rising star of Polish politics. Nearly four years afterwards his value added seems questionable (unless as master of disaster). Most of his henchmen have turned their backs on him. His party was dissolved and Mr Palikot combats to survive in politics and tries to catch a straw. His core slogan is “I will do them justice”. As a president he promises to crack down on greedy priests, ill-run credit unions, squares named after late president Kaczynski and other things which often need to be brought into order, yet not by president, but through social change. I suppose 2015 will be a year of Palikot’s last gasp in politics.
Despite not having to, I have tried to make the content of this post possibly unbiased, not indicating my political preferences, nor dislikes. Frankly speaking, I have not made up my mind who to vote for next week. Back in March I seriously considered putting a cross against the incumbent president and sparing the public purse a run-off. Today I am sure Mr Komorowski does not deserve to celebrate the victory in the first round. He will have to take the extra effort and vie with Mr Duda. So time for tactical voting will come in the run-off, while next Sunday most probably I will put crosses against all candidates. I will be among a few percent of voters disgruntled with what the political class in Poland stand for, yet not totally indifferent… And such percentage of null votes will not prove any irregularities!