Sunday, October 21, 2007

Voting in Poland

Poland has voted today, two years ahead of schedule, after corruption scandals brought down the coalition between conservative/nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), left-populist/xenophobic Samoobrona and the right-Catholic/xenophobic League of Polish Families. The Kaczynski government has been notable for its lack of foreign-policy acumen, and its perhaps overzealous prosecution of the "removal of ex-communist influence" from government bodies, as well as the corruption issues which have generally involved Samoobrona.

Recent polls showed the more classical-liberal Civic Platform (PO) of opposition leader Donald Tusk leading PiS by a couple of percentage points. Either way, a coalition would be necessary, with the most likely partner for PO being Left and Democrats (LiD), a grouping of the former ruling Democratic Left Alliance as well as splinter parties from that party, the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Party, and another center-left party, the Union of Labor. LiD lags in the polls and will take under 20 percent in any event, but shares with PO the trait that they are pragmatic and not insane ideologues. Hence the two groups seem the most natural partners.

So far, turnout through 16.30h is far ahead of the 2005 turnout--nationwide, 38% compared with 27% two years ago. The Kaczynski government (yes/no) is a clear wedge issue. Whereas in 2005 abstention was 60%, it appears that more than 50% will probably turn out this time.

Results as they come.

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