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  Name:
  Gustav
  Location:
  Warsaw, Poland

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Monday, September 26, 2005

What they're saying

Reuters: Solidarity heirs drub left in Polish vote

CNN: Exit polls: Poland turning right

BBC: Poles oust left at voting booth

Bloomberg: Poland's Law & Justice Wins Election, Exit Poll Shows

Associated Press: Exit Polls: Center-Right wins in election

MSNBC: Polish voters ousting scandal-plagued regime

Financial Times: Centre-right parties set to form Polish coalition

International Heral Tribune: Poles shift to right in voting for Parliament

Times Online: Disillusioned Poland swings to the right but most voters stay at home

6 Comments:



Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Does this loss for the Polish left affect the duration of your tenure there?

9/26/2005 01:53:00 AM  


Blogger Gustav said...

Not in the slightest.

Although Mrs. Gus did claim to want to move to the States if Kaczyński twin #2, Lech, wins the presidency.

But remember, I was hoping for the center-right PO to win (in the absence of any support for the "Democrats"). Market liberalization is what this country needs, and fast. I was hoping for righties - in a sense. But I think I would only seriously consider leaving if Samaobrona or the League of Polish Families won.

PiS is even seen as more "leftist" and "social" than PO. They want to privatize fewer government-owned companies (especially the really profitable ones), and want to maintain a progressive tax system (although they say they'd still cut taxes). They want to abolish Poland's Monetary Policy Council, and put the decision on whether to raise or lower interest rates in the central government's hands. PiS generally favors a strong central government. It also claims to want to preserve the "social state".

So, it looks like we won't get a flat tax, but there will be tax cuts - and I'm happy about that. It may be difficult to understand, but while I believe cutting taxes is the right move for Poland right now, I don't think it is the right move for the States right now. In the interest of full disclosure, since I pay Polish taxes, and not US ones, I would benefit from a tax cut in Poland, but not in the US.

Be cynical if you like, but I'm telling the truth when I say that I would believe the same if I lived (and paid taxes) in the US. Poland's market needs to be clearer and more comprehensible, while Poles need to be given a reason to spend. This high unemployment has them nervous, and they're afraid to buy too much in case they lose thier livelihoods and have to spend years looking for new work.

In the US, I mighty deficit is threatening to slow down economic growth, and nobody knows how to pay for the Katrina/Rita cleanups along with Iraq. I know that the President's proposal to cut student loans is the wrong move, if we want to continue to make sure our population is one of the most educated, and hence, competitive.

PO favors tax cuts, and has come out on social issues more conservatively than I would prefer. However, PO simply doesn't push those issues as hard as PiS does. PiS will move actively to enact more socially conservative legislation. PO would have had a big plate of economic legislation they would focus on first and foremost.

The Democratic Party also supports lowering taxes and making Poland more business-friendly in general. They also stand where I do when it comes to social issues. The Democrats started late out the gate though, and don't stand much of a chance. I hope they can manage to keep their core together until the next elections, and maybe they'll drum up some more support.

I'm interested to see if this government will manage to get anything done. Typically, Polish governments are too unruly or weak, but this time there's a solid conservative base to start with. But if Tusk wins the presidency, then there will be a genuine power struggle, and you may see their differences come out more than their similarities.

9/26/2005 02:23:00 AM  


Blogger Gustav said...

But even stagnation caused by a right vs right showdown isn't enough to keep me away from the beautiful Polish nurses ;-).

9/26/2005 02:29:00 AM  


Blogger Andrew said...

I would be interested to know: what did the Polish papers say ?

9/27/2005 05:36:00 PM  


Blogger Gustav said...

The headlines in the Polish papers were pretty predictable: PiS winners, PiS on top, etc.

None were too surprised that PiS came out the winners. They were gaining momentum up until the election, and their "social" rhetoric was very effective, especially for more traditional voters. Certainly, nobody here is talking about a "swing to the right." Nobody here really sees it that way. It's more a very logical result of the current government's inability to get anything done to make Poland a much better place to live. First and foremost, Poles want to live at the standard their Western European neighbors do - they feel it's their due. Poles will vote for whatever party they think can make their lives better, but each one, left or right, seems to bungle it. That's why Poland keeps swinging from left to right, as many have noted.

But I certainly have not felt any shift in the general Polish worldview from "left" to "right".

Now, everybody's speculating at what this could mean for the Presidential election. Already, Tusk is screaming for PiS to designate a Prime Minister - and he's looking a bit too nervous. PiS won't name a PM of course, until the presidential election is over. That's understandable, as polls are showing overwhelming sentiment against the two brothers holding both top spots. Jarosław has already said that he won't be Prime Minsiter if Lech wins the prez election, but if Lech loses, you'll bet he'll nab the post. So of course, they're waiting.

So Jarosław and Lech look as cool as cucumbers, and Tusk is looking a bit unstable. Of course, now Lech is gaining in the polls (as I predicted, I might add, here, and here).

Today's Gazeta Wyborcza headline: Will Jarosław Kaczyński take the Prime Minister's portfolio?

Today's Rzeczpospolita headline: Day of the victors (greater election analysis - seats in the Sejm, etc.)

Man, everybody's holding their breath until the presidential election. Then (maybe) we'll really know how the chips will fall.

9/27/2005 07:17:00 PM  


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