Poland has a new president

PIS, traditionally is supported by Catholic Church and radio Maria media empire, which includes popular TV network Trwam. Those are social-conservative voters who you can compare to a christian democratic parties in western Europe. PiS, in all social issues, like abortion or family matters is very conservative but, if it comes to the economy PiS is more to the left, promising lower retirement age to 65 (now is 67), additional mortgage credit for young people and even free diapers for young familie. The list of the promises is long, making many free market supporters really worry, if PiS can actually deliver what it promised without blowing up the budget, and turning Poland into the direction of Greece, away from free market reforms that the previous president (together with his Civic Platform) was claiming to be heading to.

Duda’s election success, has much to do with Komorowski being unable to make sense during presidential campaign. His speeches were filled with mistakes and errors, he often was ridiculed and loughed at. I have to point out, that over 20% of votes went to the independent candidate, who is a musician and not a politician. He is regarded as an anti-system candidate, which is quite worrying for establishment circles in polish politics, anti-system parties in a polish presidential elections captured almost 30% of votes, and with parliamentary elections coming up in October, pro-system parties are quite worried about their future.

I also have to say that Duda’s success is not about how popular he is, or how grate his economy plan was. It was all about changing the guy on the top. The majority of Polish people don’t believe system is working for them, often compare the current system to the pre-1989 “people’s republic”. Government officials often taking overblown salaries, friends and family members of the high ranking politicians or officials, taking high-paid jobs in many government owned corporations, chairs in the government owned corporate board rooms are often divided by the party lines… I have your back and you have mine, this rule applies to all mainstream parties in Poland, many people are just disgusted with deep rooted corruption.

Secretly taped conversation and statements are coming from PO politicians, describing Polish state as a bunch of waste, but at the same time, people like Radek Sikorski are having a hard time explaining drinking 1000 zl wine paid by the polish taxpayer, who’s average monthly salary is around 3000 zl, ($900). Last but not least, the taped conversation of the president of the National Bank of Poland – Mr. Marek Belka who tried to negotiate with Mr. Rostowski a “help” to re-elect PO in the next parliamentary election.

So, in my view, Duda’s success will not have much honeymoon, Polish people voted more like: anybody but… Komorowski, and Mr. Duda just happen to show up, young, vibrent, good looking.

On economy, I honestly cannot see any substantial differences between PiS and PO. Duda’s foreign policy, I would compare to an average neoconservative or conservative-democrat in the USA meaning “more of the same”, Duda’s approach to anti Putin coalition is the same, support for the EU the same, some small differences in his tax codes proposals, are insignificant to make a difference in the Polish economy.

A real test in Polish politics will happen on October 25th, and parliamentary election to the Polish Sejm and Senate. With a Civic Platform sinking in the polls and PiS raising, there is obviously a room for a new anti establishment party, and since all the establishment parties are populist – socialistic leaning, there is a historical chance we may see some more pro “free market” parties, which will be a huge headache for a new Polish president.

Artur Kalbarczyk

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