Poles face early general election – parliament dissolved


Warsaw : Poland’s parliament has dissolved itself in a dramatic vote, triggering an early general election that will most likely take place Oct 21.

Support TwoCircles

Legislators late-night Friday voted 377-54 for parliament’s dissolution, well over the two-thirds majority – or 307 – necessary among the lower house’s total 460 legislators.

Months of political chaos paved the way to the decision for a pre-term election, with the quarrelsome right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) minority government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski unable to forge a stable majority coalition with two smaller populist parties.

But in a debate ahead of the dissolution ballot, PiS politicians denied opposition allegations that their party had “capitulated” after a mere two years of its full four-year term in office.

Opinion polls published this week showed the governing PiS leading the opposition liberal Civic Platform (PO). But all recent surveys indicate that an independent majority government or a stable coalition administration is unlikely to emerge from the fresh ballot, thus condemning Poland to continued political instability.

There is concern both in Poland and abroad that the wobbly state of Poland’s domestic politics may destabilise its booming economy and wreak further havoc in its foreign policy.

Allegations of undemocratic behaviour have dogged Prime Minister Kaczynski in recent weeks, with former coalition partners accusing him of using Poland’s secret services and the justice ministry in attempts to eliminate them from politics. Kaczynski has denied any wrong-doing.

Concerned about the health of Poland’s democracy, former Czech President Vaclav Havel recently went so far as to urge international observers to monitor elections in Poland.

Analysts have also pointed out that should Kaczynski’s Law and Justice (PiS) party win the fresh ballot, political power in Poland will remain concentrated in hands of identical twin brothers for the near future.

President Lech Kaczynski’s term in office expires in 2010, while the full term of the new parliament after the upcoming election will end in the autumn of 2012.

The pre-term October election will be the seventh democratic ballot since the collapse of communism in 1989.

Poles last went to the ballot box in September 2005, giving Kaczynski’s PiS a narrow 2.9 percent victory over the rival PO. A regularly scheduled election was due to be held in the autumn of 2009.