Polish far right, populists enter government Friday May 5, 07:32 PM
WARSAW (AFP) - Poland's far-right and populists entered power in coalition
with conservatives, forming a government that, more than six turbulent months
after legislative elections, will finally command a majority in parliament.
The coalition will consist of the nationalist, virulently anti-EU League of
Polish Families (LPR), the anti-liberal, populist Samoobrona (Self-Defense)
and the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
In a televised ceremony, President Lech Kaczynski named LPR
leader Roman Giertych and Samoobrona chief Andrzej Lepper as deputy prime
Since parliament resumed session in November, and amid venomous public
quarrels between political parties, PiS has been unable to pass laws promised
to voters in the election campaign.
In the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz of PiS,
Samoobrona's Lepper becomes agriculture minister in addition to his deputy
premier role, and LPR chief Giertych takes over at the education ministry.
Giertych is a devout Catholic who is deeply opposed to the spread of
homosexuality, to euthanasia and abortion. He has also spoken out against
Poland adopting the euro.
Samoobrona, during its election campaign, pressed for Poland's accession
treaty to the European Union to be renegotiated, for greater government
control over Poland's central bank, and for higher unemployment benefits.
Lepper has since softened his rhetoric, saying Friday that "everything must
be done to take advantage of EU funds and invest them in infrastructure, into
road construction, because that's the worst problem in Poland."
But with the hardline Catholic, nationalist LPR in the mix, the coalition
government is expected to have 245 seats, or a majority of 15.
Analysts were sceptical about how long the new coalition will last, and
warned that the entry of nationalists and populists into power could harm the
Ryszard Petru, an analyst for BPH bank, told AFP: "It's a negative signal for
the economy, but its effects will probably be limited as the economy is
developing" despite the country's turbulent political scene.
"However, a grim scenario cannot be completely ruled out, as populist
pressures threaten to discourage investors," Petru added.