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Thursday, October 27, 2005

My friend, the Marshall

Well, my friend's friend, the Marshall. Close. Friend assures me he is a great guy. I have not yet asked her about his alleged visit to Pinochet when the general was in Britain. Marek Jurek of Law & Justice (PiS) has been appointed Marshall of the Sejm after the Civic Platform's (PO) Tusk and then a Peasant's Party (PSL) candidate turned down the position, and PiS refused to give it to PO's proposed candidate, who is extremely hostile to PiS.
PiS and PO are failing miserably to get their coalitional act together, and however much they may talk about irreconcilable differences, the real cause of the problem seems to be personal. I don't doubt that the Kaczynski twins can be insufferable, but it appears that Tusk and PO are acting rather childishly. For the past year the assumption has been that there would be a POPiS coalition no matter who won, and to fail to form one now would indeed be a betrayal of the voters. There are no British-style election manifestos here, and no-one could accuse the "minor" partner in a coalition that they are betraying election promises when they are clearly not in a position to realise them. PO might argue that they cannot agree to some (most) of PiS's programme, but at this point surely the main thing is to try to ensure that the best things are done for the country, and going off in an ostentatiously principled huff (probably with an eye the opportunities opposition offers for criticising without taking any responsibility, and therefore putting oneself in a position to win the next election) is self-indulgent and petty. Did PO insist on an anti-PiS candidate for Marshall because it suits them not to have the position?
Wałęsa shares my suspicions, except that he is apparently more openly pleased about the state of affairs. Rzeczpospolita reports him at a meeting in Gdańsk, keeping an eye on developments in the Sejm and on learning of Jurek's appointment crowing exultantly to a nearby bishop that the twins now have rope to hang themselves, and that the country can look forward to another election soon.
Jurek was elected with the votes of PiS, Self-Defence (Samoobrona), the League of Polish Families (LPR) and the PSL. PiS have repaid this motley crew by awarding them one vice-marshall each. Samoobrona's choice was their leader Andrzej Lepper, who a few years ago held the same post for the grand total of one month. I can't remember what he was chucked out for, calling other party leaders villains or something of the sort. He is the Sejm's resident embarrassment as far as parliamentary behaviour goes.
Not looking good.