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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 4, 2009
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PiS Softens Stance Amid Political Shakeup
February 4, 2009   
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Law and Justice (PiS), Poland's largest opposition party, is changing its style. Party chairman Jarosław Kaczyński announced a new party motto, "Peace, not war," at a PiS congress Jan. 31, heralding an end to aggressive rhetoric and attacks on the ruling coalition of the Civic Platform (PO) and Polish People's Party (PSL).

Kaczyński said his party's new program would focus on the economy and on modernizing Poland. And in a surprise move, he apologized to Polish intelligentsia for criticism directed at this group by PiS. He also said his party would strive to extend its support base by reaching out to those who have not supported its program so far. "We have to learn to understand the way people who don't support us think," the PiS leader said.

The next day, a new movement emerged on the left of the political spectrum. Dariusz Rosati, a Euro MP from the Social Democratic Party of Poland (SDPL), launched a group called the Alliance for the Future, bringing together center-leftists such as the SDPL, the Democratic Party-demokraci.pl (PD) and the Zieloni 2004 green party. Among those attending the founding conference were SDPL leader Wojciech Filemonowicz, PD leader Brygida KuĽniak, former Social Democrat leader and ex-Sejm speaker Marek Borowski, and ex-defense minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz.

Rosati said the Alliance for the Future was a social movement and an alliance whose main quality will be openness. "We invite everyone, all leftist and centrist political circles, to work with us. We are closed to no one," Rosati declared, adding that the new movement would not be a new political party and the individual member parties would remain distinct.

"We want to form a social movement, an alliance of people who embrace values such as freedom, solidarity, equal opportunities, sensitivity to poverty, defending the weak and wronged," Rosati said.

A third development on the Polish political scene involved Declan Ganley, the businessman and politician whose flagship success was convincing Irish voters to reject the Lisbon Treaty. Ganley's euro-skeptic party Libertas opened a Polish office in Warsaw Feb. 2. The party's main objectives include striving to cut EU bureaucracy and opposing the Lisbon Treaty. Ganley's visit and the move to set up a Polish branch of Libertas were greeted enthusiastically by the hardline Polish right including parties like Janusz Dobrosz's Naprzód Polsko (Forward Poland), Marek Jurek's Prawica Rzeczpospolitej (Rightists of the Republic) and Zdzisław Podkański's PSL Piast.
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