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The Warsaw Voice » From the News Editor » February 25, 2011
From the Editor-in-Chief
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From the Editor-in-Chief
February 25, 2011   
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“The Civic Platform Is Leaking Like a Sieve,” read a recent headline in a Polish daily. It’s hard not to agree, at least partly. Eight months before parliamentary elections, the governing party’s ratings are not impressive.

Of course you could argue that after three years of running the country, any governing party would show signs of fatigue, as reflected in poll results. You could also say that given the disastrous year 2010 (floods, the tragic plane crash near Smolensk, the financial crisis), the PO’s performance is not that bad; it still enjoys the support of over 30 percent of the electorate. But the trend is downward and the mood is miserable. The senior governing party is still stronger than its rivals, but is showing signs of weakening.

Two factors seem the most worrying: the dispute with an elite group of liberal economists about the pension system and public finance reform, and personal conflicts among the party’s highest ranks. Cracks of dissent in your own team are usually a serious sign of trouble, and this is most likely the case here.

There’s hardly a government in the world that has survived its term in office unscathed, especially if the road winds across particularly tough terrain. The opposition will always find something to latch onto. But it’s not the opposition that appears to be the greatest opponent of Donald Tusk’s government. You might even consider it an ally, because the leftists (SLD) seem poorly defined, while fear of a rightist PiS government was one of the PO’s best election arguments. The biggest obstacles for the PO are public expectations and the PO itself.

The party appears to be heading not for an election defeat, but a victory smaller than was once expected. If this trend is not reversed, that could indeed be the final outcome—unless the party manages to develop a cohesive action plan soon. The plan would have to be cohesive not just internally within the party, but also compatible with voters’ expectations, as well as being publicly appreciative of their support.

Tusk’s electorate doesn’t only judge current policy; it is more inclined to evaluate performance in the longer term. In 2007, the PO’s vision of the future of this country and society was one of the party’s biggest assets. To put the vision into practice, the prime minister has a team of advisers headed by Michał Boni, which drew up a widely discussed report called Poland 2030. In this issue, we ask him what has happened with the program since then.

Andrzej Jonas
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