A direct consequence of rising anti-immigration sentiment, Poland Elects Rightwing Eurosceptic, Anti-Immigration Government by an outright, albeit slim majority according to exit polls.
Final results are due tomorrow. Outright majority or not, this election will complicate matters for Brussels on immigration, clean energy, climate control, and relations with Russia.
A spontaneous chorus of the national anthem rang out around the headquarters of Poland’s eurosceptic ultraconservative opposition as it learnt of its victory in a watershed election.
Mistrustful of Brussels, suspicious of foreign capital and espousing a social agenda rooted in conservative Catholicism, the Law and Justice party (PiS) won back control of the EU’s sixth-largest economy after eight years of centrist rule.
“We have begun a new time, a time of work,” said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the veteran PiS leader, addressing party officials who chanted his name in a rallying cry that will reverberate across the EU.
The return of Mr Kaczynski’s party, which ran Poland between 2005 and 2007, poses a number of difficulties for Brussels, already struggling to handle nationalist governments in Hungary and Slovakia over how to tackle the continent’s migrant crisis.
Mr Kaczynski, who has condemned Warsaw’s decision to accept refugees and said that they could bring diseases to Europe, is an outspoken admirer of Viktor Orban, Hungary’s antagonistic prime minister. He has a chequered history with German chancellor Angela Merkel, and is a fierce critic of Donald Tusk, European Council president and a former Polish prime minister.
“[PiS] wants Poland to be more sovereign in Europe, more independent in its politics, but also more effective, more successful” said Michał Szułdrzyński, political editor of Rzeczpospolita, a leading Polish daily. “PiS will like to appear more hawkish towards Brussels, and is keen on an early and spectacular victory, such as a strong No to a common EU climate policy, for example.”
Official results are due on Tuesday. But exit polls forecast PiS will win 38 per cent of the vote, enough for a slim majority, which would be the first for any party in democratic Poland. It can also rely on a number of smaller rightwing parties to help it push through legislation, and possibly make mooted changes to the constitution. Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, was also a member of the party before his election in May.
Mr Tusk will have a tough task keeping Poland onside in debates over the migrant crisis, climate change and energy policy, while Warsaw’s previously warm relations with Berlin and Paris are likely to experience a chill. While committed to remaining in the EU, PiS has said it wants to repatriate powers from Brussels.
A fierce critic of Moscow, he has said that in power his party would oppose any proposals for Poland to accept more refugees, which could derail EU plans for an expansion of its migrant-sharing scheme. Poland, a key eastern European swing state that has previously helped drag its neighbours into line during EU votes, finally agreed to accept 7,000 migrants this autumn after tense negotiations.
Poland’s lurch to the right also poses significant problems for the EU’s climate change policies.
The most immediate battle ground will relate to Warsaw’s plans for its lossmaking coal mines, where powerful unions are traditional allies of PiS. Brussels says that the country can only pump government money into these as part of a closure programme.
If the new government uses subsidies to keep them open, it will face a tough battle with the European Commission, which would view such a policy as illegal state aid.
More broadly, Mr Kaczynski has also said he is against any new rules that would drastically curb carbon emissions, with the EU facing tough negotiations next year over how the member states will share the burden of slashing back their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
This is a clear warning shot to the nannycrats in Brussels regarding wide-ranging policies on immigration, energy, Russia, and even the euro itself.
I suspect anti-immigration is what kicked PiS over the top to an outright majority. Regardless of the reasons, Polish voters have clearly had enough.
More importantly, what happened in Poland can happen elsewhere.
Will the nannycrats heed the warning? Of course not. Nannycrats cannot and will not listen to anyone who opposes their version of a United States of Europe ruled by nannycrats.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock