PSL demands PO ditch the left

The Polish People’s Party (PSL) and the Civic Platform (PO) are engaged in talks about forming an electoral coalition for the autumn Parliamentary elections.

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The talks between PSL and PO are, according to sources close to PO leader Grzegorz Schetyna, at an impasse. This is because the PSL leader, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz has demanded that PO not only ditches SLD (Democratic Left Alliance) but also smaller left-of-centre parties such as “Modern” and Barbara Nowacka’s “Polish Initiative”.

Mr Kosiniak-Kamysz has also demanded nearly half of the poll positions on the potential electoral coalition’s slate of candidates and has intimated that PSL intends to have its own parliamentary caucus in the new Parliament.

PO is signalling that such demands are unacceptable to it. PO has now stood with “Modern” and “Polish Initiative” in the local and European elections and it has formed a joint parliamentary caucus with “Modern”. Sources inside PO have said that PSL is a party with an opinion poll rating below the five-percent electoral threshold and this is why they do not want more competition for places on the electoral coalition’s slates

Mariusz Witczak, a PO MP, has accused PSL of considering a future coalition with the ruling Law and Justice (PiS). “When I see the attitude PSL is taking I get the feeling that they may have decided to ally with PiS”.

Comment:

PSL is signalling that it wants a coalition of the centre and centre-right and not of the centre and the left. They argue that their rural voters do not react well to pushing gender issues and anti-clericalism.

But this is very hard for PO to accept. PO has been moving in the direction of social liberalism for some time. It is now working well with parties to its left.

The PO, despite the fact that it actually lost MEPs in the EP elections, still wants a broad electoral alliance of the kind that was the “European Coalition” (KE). PSL, in turn, argues that this is too broad a church and that it is better for the opposition to run in the elections on two slates. One of the centre with it and the PO, and one of the left, headed by the SLD and Robert Biedroń’s “Spring” party.

The clock is ticking and little time is left for a decision. The elections are likely to take place in mid-October and once the President announces the date the parties will have to register for the elections in the coalitions they eventually choose.

Meanwhile, it is the ruling PiS which is way ahead in the polls and already up and running for the election. The opposition has not even arrived at the starting gate.


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