Analysis: Leader of Opposition puts a brave face on failure

Grzegorz Schetyna announces that his party will fight the election leading a “Civic Coalition” (KO) of all who share the party's views and claims this as “a new form of political expression”.

The leader of the largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO) on Thursday announced that his party has given up the ghost on attempting to unite the whole opposition. Instead, he and his party are to build a coalition with civic organisations and individuals who share PO’s views. He hoped that the opposition parties would be able to field a joint slate of candidates in the single-member constituencies of the second chamber of the Polish Parliament, the Senate.

Mr Schetyna would not be drawn on names of civic organisations or individuals who might join the coalition he is to form. But he promised that 20 percent of places on the lists of candidates would be available for such organisations and individuals.

“We want a coalition of democrats and patriots and will be inviting local government leaders onto our lists,” he declared. The opposition leader said the “attempt to build a coalition of parties was ended by the Polish People’s Party [PSL] decision,” which will go it alone and build their own coalition.

The decision means that the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) will not be a part of PO’s coalition. Mr Schetyna confirmed that he had informed Włodzimierz Czarzasty, the SLD leader, of the decision.

Civic Platform in effect has reverted to the formula which it had adopted for the local government elections last year. It is standing with its allies from “Modern” and Barbara Nowacka’s “Polish Initiative” and hoping to attract notable individuals onto its lists to boost its election result.

Comment:

This is the end of the road of the concept of a united opposition. It was tried in the European elections with the European Coalition between KO, PSL and SLD. The scale of the defeat to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) seems to have sealed its fate.

Mr Schetyna chose not to have a formal coalition with the SLD or Mr Biedroń’s “Spring” as it would have caused him problems with voters in the centre and centre-right who do not wish to see the pursuit of anti-clericalism or gender politics as priorities.

It was a decision approved by his party. But it will be Grzegorz Schetyna – and he alone – who will pay the price should the election result be disappointing.

The opposition’s failure to unite now or to win the European elections have already cooled Donald Tusk’s ardour for returning to the fray in Polish politics. He and Mr Schetyna have been rivals for years. But Mr Tusk does not want to return just to finish off his former rival when he sees no chance of the opposition regaining power.

So Mr Schetyna is putting on a brave face on what essentially is a political failure. He can only hope for a political miracle in the autumn that might unseat the ruling party.


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