I thought I would give some thoughts on Polish politics in light of the recent tragic plane crash.
First, some basic background. Poland is what political scientists call a "semi-presidential" system in that it has both a President and a Prime Minister. In the Polish case, the Prime Minister is the main authority in government. That means that although the President and his enterouge were killed in the crash, the Polish government remains largely in tact. There were some senior officials killed but none of them had the rank of cabinet ministers.
Second, even more than Poland the big victim of this deadly crash is the Law and Justice Party. Law and Justice Party is a right wing populist party. They have a strong tendency towards nationalism, homophobia and misogyny. The party was founded by the late President Lech Kaczynski and his identical twin brother, Jaroslav. Jaroslav is currently the leader of the party and has served as Prime Minister. I've heard stories that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder once met with Jaroslav and later ordered his security guards not to let the then Polish Prime Minister "within rifle shot" of him again.
Law and Justice is like the most extreme faction of the Republcian party in the USA. At various times, officials from the party have used their power to persecute individual homosexuals and Gay rights advocacy groups. They've also abolished the Polish agency tasked with ensuring that women are not discriminated against in the work place.
This is a nasty party. And these brothers are nasty little demagogues. My fear is that this tragedy will lead Poles to transform Lech Kaczynski and his brother's legacy into one of martyrdom. The reality is that these two are a national embarassment for an otherwise impressive country.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 3:15 PM