Analysis: The brewer and the rapper in alt-right cacophony

A small grouping led by a musician and a brewing entrepreneur have fallen out. It may be a storm in a teacup, but it shows how the opposition parties of the right are in disarray.

The small opposition parties of the right failed to win any representation in the European elections. Their prospects for the Parliamentary elections in the autumn are no better.

Most media coverage in Poland concentrates on the parties that made up the centre-left “European Coalition”. But there are opposition parties to the right of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) which have in the past made it into both the Polish and European Parliaments.

Election laws tough on small parties

In the European poll both the “Kukiz ‘15” grouping and the coalition of anti-EU ultra-conservatives and nationalists fell under the five percent threshold required to obtain representation. The same threshold is a challenge in the parliamentary elections.

But an even bigger challenge faces these parties right at the start of the election process. Polish electoral law requires them to collect over 100,000 signatures to be able to contest all the multi-member constituencies. If the President sets the election date in August for the middle of October, the parties will only have three weeks to gather the signatures.

Only the nationalists (RN) and the “Freedom party” headed by the veteran maverick Janusz Korwin-Mikke are confident of getting that job done. “Kukiz ‘15” have already intimated that this would be a tough call for them. Despite having Parliamentary representation they won in the 2015 elections, the grouping is not well organized and does not benefit from public funding because of its decision not to be formally recognized as a party.

Looking for alliances with the more established parties

This is why “Kukiz ‘15”, along with the small “Republican right” lead by a former PiS Speaker of Parliament Marek Jurek, are negotiating with the Polish People’s Party (PSL) access to the “Polish coalition” which the PSL has announced that it is forming.

However, PSL are also in talks with Poland’s largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO) with whom it has been in government, local government and in the European Parliament. It is hard enough for Mr Kukiz to swallow a coalition with such an establishment party as the PSL without getting into bed with the PO too. Mr Kukiz has tended to be much closer to PiS than to the PO.

No alliance of rap and beer

The “Confederation” alliance that came close to reaching the five percent election threshold in the EP elections has now been weakened by a falling out between two of its colourful figures who headed up a small grouping in that alliance . They are both ex-Kukiz ‘15 MPs: the brewing entrepreneur Marek Jakubiak and the rapper Piotr Liroy-Marzec.

Mr Jakubiak wants to ally with the PSL, as for him the “Confederation” seems to be small beer. This is not music to Mr Liroy-Marzec’s ears. They have parted company and their grouping is now defunct. They are both learning the hard way that media attention and celebrity status do not guarantee political success.

PiS hegemony on the right

The ruling PiS are only concerned that none of these small right wing forces do not take votes which are either wasted by them not obtaining representation, or deny the governing party a majority in Parliament by gaining representation. They will therefore look to marginalize them and squeeze their vote, as they largely succeeded in doing in the European election.