Poland's varied post-election political landscape
A second round of local elections in Poland has finalised the shape of governments for the coming four years. The vote saw the governing conservatives lose the Warsaw mayor's office to the country's biggest opposition party while outside Warsaw the result was mixed. The conservatives scored poorly in several major cities, but had a strong showing in smaller towns and rural areas. Slawek Szefs has this review of Poland's political landscape one week after the vote.
Sociology professor Andrzej Rychard from Warsaw University says the final election results give ground for optimism to be displayed by all sides of the local government contest.
RYCHARD: "These elections may be viewed at different levels, so the discussion on who won and who lost can be a long one, because each party can point to examples of relative success.'"
KACZYNSKI: "On one side, we have Law and Justice..... on the other, there's the Civic Platform alliance with the post Communist left. We have former president Kwasniewski in the front ranks, again. The old guard and their order is returning. We have to oppose this!"
Oskar Chomicki from the Poland in Europe Foundation says this shows the ever present threat of left wing forces felt by the Law and Justice leader.
CHOMICKI: "He has put himself in a rather hopeless direction, because he has always stressed the need to eradicate the evil in Polish politics and life. This kind of policy that he's been pursuing over the past year, has not met with enthusiasm on the part of the population at large. His pessimism, his devilish attitude towards anything that's happening in Poland has not gained any spectacular success."
The example of Warsaw shows clearly that the voters had been confronted with a choice between political groupings rather than individual candidates and their programs. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, president-elect of the capital, says this is not a good solution in local elections.
GRONKIEWICZ: "Local elections should be mainly connected with solving the problems of certain communities. But in the case of Warsaw it was always a bit different, being a competition among parties. I do hope that our program, the program of the Civic Platform, is much better for the citizens as we would like to cooperate with NGOs, which was not the case before."
There have already been examples of constructive cooperation of opposing parties at local government level, despite strong emotions, like the words of the Prime Minister. And not without reason, reminds Oskar Chomicki.
CHOMICKI: "Polish people do not like such attitude, in general. They would prefer to have some peace and quiet instead of instigating quarrels and rows."
May this opinion prove prophetic for the sake of much needed cooperation, to make daily life easier for Polish people in the next four years.