Polish president Bronisław Komorowski is expected to win the most votes on Sunday in an election that has been notably lacking in drama. Indeed, Poland’s politics has altogether become predictable — and that’s a good thing.
Hannah Thoburn writes in The American Interest that Poland has become an “island of stability” in a turbulent Europe.
While political prognosticators loudly ponder the possible end of the United Kingdom and the European commitment of Greece and Hungary, very few bother to even consider the future of Poland so strong and certain does it seem.
Poland’s two biggest parties have together taken some 70 percent of the votes in recent elections. The ruling Civic Platform is liberal and supports Komorowski in the presidential election. It takes most of its votes from the more cosmopolitan western part of the country while the socially conservative Law and Justice party is popular in the east. Its supports a stronger social safety net but neither party is hugely in favor of state intervention in the economy.
Law and Justice leaders Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński dominated Polish politics in the last decade and “sent some into paroxysms of worry that their overzealous pursuit of former communists was undermining democratic legitimacy in the country,” according to Thoburn, “and that antics like stopping gay pride parades in Warsaw would reduce Poland’s standing in Europe.”
That seems a distant memory now that former Civic Platform prime minister Donald Tusk is head of the European Council and Poland plays an important role in the bloc’s Ukraine policy.
While Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has made most of its former satellite states in Central Europe more cautious, Poland remains convinced that — with European support — Ukraine can do with it did: become a properly European country.