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The Warsaw Voice » Society » December 1, 2014
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From the editor
December 1, 2014   
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Since 2007, Law and Justice (PiS) has taken part in eight elections: two parliamentary ballots, three local government elections, two European Parliament votes, and one presidential race. And it wasn’t until this November that the party finally scored a victory—securing the highest percentage of votes in the race to regional assemblies. But this win was only in terms of percentages: while PiS beat the Civic Platform (PO) by 0.5 percentage points, the PO defeated PiS in terms of the number of seats, winning 179 vs. 171 for PiS.

PiS won more seats than in the previous local elections, while the PO claimed fewer seats. However, due to its poor coalition-building abilities, Jarosław Kaczyński’s party will wield power in just one regional assembly.

Meanwhile, Poland is preparing for a presidential election in May next year and for parliamentary elections in November. Party skirmishes have already begun.

The State Election Commission (PKW), composed of nine judges, is tasked with ensuring that elections are held correctly and has an army of about 300,000 at its disposal. But the problem is that the commission lives in a world of its own and, as it has recently turned out, has little contact with the world of ordinary people. For the judges time flows at a different, much slower pace than it does for most of us. That, on top of the electronic vote-counting debacle and an array of other mistakes gave the PiS leader and his makeshift allies an excuse for an all-out attack and a call for a re-run of the elections. Though 59 percent of respondents in a survey for the Rzeczpospolita daily said they believe the elections were fair—29 percent were of the opposite opinion—this hasn’t changed Kaczyński’s strategy.

I doubt the elections will be re-run, save perhaps for a few constituencies (which will not affect the overall result). But this will remain a battlefront until the parliamentary elections. For now Kaczyński has announced a giant rally on Dec. 13, the anniversary of the imposition of martial law in communist Poland in 1981. Learning democracy is a difficult process that has no end.

Overall, though, Poland is not doing too badly. In fact it’s doing fine.
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