“A slap in the face for Poland’s political establishment” – that is how the country’s press has described the turnout in the general election.
Only 40 percent of people voted, dampening the spirits of the victorious centre-right. The conservative Law and Justice party or PiS and their allies, the pro-business Civic Platform, trounced the ruling Democratic Left Alliance. Many people have lost their trust in politicians as scandal has hit the government and unemployment has soared to 18 percent – the highest in the EU. “All of these people were in power already,” one voter commented. “I am against all of them. They have ruled for 15 years, the names of the parties kept changing but the faces stayed the same.” Pundits predict that the conservatives and Civic Platform will not find it easy to agree on cabinet posts, although PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is widely tipped to become prime minister. PiS came from behind in the opinion polls with fierce attacks on Civic Platform’s free market agenda which it said would hit the poor. Tensions look certain to rise with the upcoming presidential election which pits Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk against Lech Kaczynski, the conservative mayor of Warsaw and twin brother of Jarsolaw. Jaroslaw has pledged not to take the job of prime minister if his brother wins the presidency next month.