A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dirtier and dirtier

Reuters -

Polish presidential race gets personal

Poland's presidential candidate Lech Kaczyński sacked his campaign manager on Tuesday for saying the family of rival Donald Tusk had ties to Nazi Germany's army during World War Two. (Polish links)

After a day of controversy and amid signs the campaign was turning nasty, Kaczyński stepped in and sacked Jacek Kurski, the campaign manager who had made the allegations.

In a presidential debate later on Tuesday, Kaczyński said: "Today I must apologise to Donald Tusk for the elements of black PR in the campaign."

Kurski will face an intra-party disciplinary hearing for the accusations.

Kaczyński, a conservative, trailed free-market enthusiast Tusk by a bit in the first round of voting last Sunday and the two will face off in a run-off on October 23.

Any hint of collaboration with Nazi Germany is damaging in Poland, which was occupied by Hitler's troops and lost millions of citizens during the war.

Kurski had told a newspaper that Tusk should clarify his grandfather's past and that "serious sources" had said he had volunteered to join the German Wehrmacht.

Tusk rejected the accusation, telling a campaign rally: "My rival and his associates have dealt a blow which was meant to hurt the most -- they attacked the good name of my close relatives, who are no longer with us."

Tusk's spokesman distributed documents showing that both of Tusk's grandfathers were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps after the war broke out.

"This is a disgusting lie. Lech Kaczyński's campaign has descended into the gutter," Tusk spokesman Jacek Protasiewicz said.

Two opinion polls on Tuesday showed Tusk with a lead of around 10 points. The race has grown increasingly hostile as the final vote draws closer, with both camps accusing their rivals of lies and mud-slinging.

More and more like a mature democracy every day.


Blogger Andrew said...

Who do you think will benefit more from that Nazi story and associated fallout- Kaczynski or Tusk ?

10/12/2005 04:07:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

right now it looks like Tusk is definitely benefitting. I heard today that he's gone up in the polls since the story broke (I'll try to get the numbers as soon as I can). People are really cheesed about this. Tusk's grandfathers both suffered in Nazi concentration camps. To say that they colluded with the Nazis is lower than low - it's Karl-Rove style.

'Cept here it pisses people off. In the States, they listen to that crap.

Think Kaczyński will be calling in the swift-boat vets?

10/12/2005 04:51:00 PM  

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