Polish far right moves close to power

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On Sunday, October 23, the conservative populist Lech Kaczynski won the Polish presidency, defeating his neoliberal rival Donald Tusk by nine points. Only a month earlier, Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party and Tusk’s Civic Platform won the parliamentary elections too, dividing up over 60% of the seats between them, and promising to govern together as a coalition. But less than a week after the presidential voting, the coalition is already coming apart. Law and Justice, tasting power, has pushed Civic Platform away and is beginning to govern in a de facto coalition with the right-wing extremist, anti-systemic parties, the xenophobic Self-Defense (Samoobrona) and the anti-gay and anti-Semitic religious fanatics of the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin.). Before the elections, the Kaczynski twins, Lech, the new president, and Jaroslaw, the parliamentary leader who controls the prime minister repeatedly said they would refuse to enter into coalition with these two extremist, far-right parties. But as the press now reports Law and Justice met with Self-Defense over a month ago to work out a possible de facto coalition. Poland is today moving rapidly to the political right – not so much the neoliberal right of free-market globalization, but the traditional right of presidential decrees, uncompromising government, religious extremism, and disenfranchisement of the "riff-raff," both street criminals and political opponents. Dig those history books out of the basement: Law and Justice is reviving the so-called "Sanitation" politics of the 1930s.

To read the rest of Davod Ost's detailed analysis of the Polish political scene following the elections, go to this website