Berlin and the Polish Populists

With the election of the Law and Justice party and former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski back in power, Poland could become an uncomfortable partner again for Berlin.

Handelsblatt Global, October 28, 2015

For Germany, the new Polish government could turn out to be an unwelcome blast from the past.

Officials confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s conservative Law and Justice party, or PiS, had scored a massive victory in national elections on Sunday, winning 37.6 percent of the vote.

The result sweeps the center-right, pro-business Civic Platform from power, after eight years at the helm.

The surprisingly strong showing gives Law and Justice, which ruled Poland from 2005 to 2007, 235 seats in the 460-seat parliament. The conservative party will govern alone, the first party to do so in Poland since the fall of communism.

And while moderate politician Beata Szydlo is to take over as prime minister, the man widely assumed to be pulling the strings will be her party leader, the former prime minister Jaroslow Kaczynski.

A decade ago, Mr. Kaczynski and his twin brother, the late President Lech Kaczynski, were a dual thorn in the side of Berlin. Germany-bashing was a regular part of their nationalist repertoire, with the brothers frequently alluding to Germany’s Nazi past and its atrocities during World War II.

Just four years ago, Mr. Kaczynski hammered again on the theme when he published a book in which he claimed that Germany still had “imperial” designs on the areas of Western Poland it had controlled until losing the war.

To read more: https://global.handelsblatt.com/politics/berlin-and-the-polish-populists-346305

 

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