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Poland - 2005 Elections

Law and Justice (PiS) candidate Lech Kaczynski, was elected President on 23 October 2005, defeating Civic Platform (PO) candidate Donald Tusk. Lech Kaczynski received 54.0 percent of the vote in the final round of election, beating Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform (PO) party who received 46.0 percent of the vote. Lech Kaczynski assumed the office of President on December 23, 2005.

Following September 25, 2005 parliamentary elections, top vote-getter PiS (27%) began coalition negotiations with electoral partner PO (24%). After PiS presidential candidate Kaczynski defeated PO candidate Tusk, coalition talks between the two parties collapsed, and President Kwasniewski swore in a minority PiS government on 24 October 2005 led by Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. After coalition talks with runner-up PO collapsed, PiS alone formed a minority government under Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz.

Frustrated by its inability to achieve its legislative program alone, the twins hit upon a strategy which scandalised many middle-class Poles. PiS formed a formal coalition government with a demagogic left-wing party (Self-Defense - SO) and a demagogic right-wing party (League of Polish Families - LPR) in April 2006. Then it excluded the leftists but soon returned them to the coalition. In July 2006, Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz resigned and was replaced by PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski as Prime Minister.

The new Polish government led by twin brothers Lech Kaczynski, the president, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the prime minister, concentrated less on deepening democratic reforms than on discrediting its opponents. For a year the two twins shared power in Poland. They soon advocated the establishment of a "Fourth Republic of Poland," which they said would bring about social justice and greater moral clarity in public life. The government had shown immense hostility toward all political forces that have guided Poland's politics since 1989 and suspicion toward important parts of the outside world, notably Russia and Germany. The Kaczynski twins unleashed a crusade against the "uklad" or "the arrangement" - a corrupt coalition of Communists and ex-Communists, businessmen, secular liberals, survivors or remnants of the old secret police, and Russians, who were said to have undermined Poland's moral authority and values.

Feverish attacks on the Kaczynski phenomenon from many Poles (including Solidarity period colleagues) quickly turned into an international liberal media 'narrative' drawn from a pick 'n mix list of disobliging adjectives which is surfacing in some obituary analysis: extreme, nationalist, homophobic, anti-German, anti-European, ultra-Catholic, xenophobic, reactionary, divisive, populist, right-wing. The worst adjective the patronising Warsaw elite threw at the Kaczynskis was something much more subtly Polish: they were so provincial. They were not 'one of us' - too petty and pedantic, too truculent, too self-righteous, too wrapped up in Poland's own myths, too worried about all those uneducated primitive Poles out there. In short, much too Polish - but in the wrong way. The Kaczynskis were portrayed as belonging to that part of the political spectrum which ranges from pathological extremists to the far side of the Antichrist.



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