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The Warsaw Voice » From the News Editor » November 30, 2010
From the News Editor
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Politics Without Dialogue
November 30, 2010   
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As 2010 draws to an end, the two main political forces in Poland continue to avoid any form of dialogue other than mutual accusations and invectives thrown around in the media. And nothing seems to suggest things could improve in the foreseeable future.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, takes every opportunity to emphasize that he has absolutely no intention to work, in any form, with either the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk from the Civic Platform (PO) or President Bronisław Komorowski, who also hails from PO. Kaczyński declared recently he would not attend meetings of the presidential National Security Council which, alongside the president, consists of the prime minister, the lower house speaker, the foreign and defense ministers and the heads of all political parties in parliament. Explaining his decision, Kaczyński said he had no trust whatsoever in the government and he reiterated his accusations of negligence in the ongoing investigation into the presidential airplane crash near Smolensk, Russia, April 10.

Soon after, Anna Fotyga, foreign minister in the PiS government in 2005-2007, and Antoni Macierewicz, the head of a parliamentary team that PiS set up to investigate the April 10 tragedy, flew to the United States to try to persuade congressmen to get the United States involved in the investigation. Kaczyński said that as far as the Smolensk affair was concerned, the Tusk cabinet was acting like a “small, frightened dog” and the decision to hand the air crash investigation over to a “foreign, non-allied superpower,” that is, Russia, was a sign that the Polish authorities were powerless.

Kaczyński has also been systematically expelling any PiS members who are believed to have a tendency to compromise, an inclination to pursue a dialog instead of conflict and who, the gravest accusation of all, are said to be liberals. The expelled PiS activists include Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, the coordinator of Kaczyński’s presidential campaign earlier this year. The rumors are that more heads will roll.

The Civic Platform, meanwhile, has been responding relatively calmly to the attacks, criticism and news of expulsions from PiS. Tusk has either refrained from commenting on statements by Kaczyński and his closest colleagues or tried to resort to humor. In a change of tack from several months ago, he has not tried to engage Kaczyński in dialogue. President Komorowski has taken a similar line after a succession of attacks from Kaczyński.

Opinion polls show PO and PiS are the dominant parties in Poland. PO has the support of 40-45 percent of the public and PiS is on 20-25 percent. The third-placed party, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), is backed by less than 15 percent.

How long can a state function efficiently when the government and the opposition refuse to speak to each other? That is the big question for 2011.
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