With the signing of the coalition agreement one cannot afford giving up one’s demands- Grzegorz Sakson says, the president of the Union of Polish Lawyers in Lithuania, who is also running for the seat in the parliament as member of the AWPL party. Whereas Stanislaw Tarasiewicz, member of the “YES Union” („Sąjunga TAIP”), thinks, that the core of Polish minorities’ problems lies in the lack of Polish members in Lithuanian parties.
During the political debate, Wnet radio carried out interviews with three Polish candidates to the lower house of the Polish parliament. Apart from Sakson and Tarasiewicz there was also Ałła Dekan from the Liberal movement (Liberalų sąjūdis); all were being interviewed.
AWPL party will be an eminent power
Grzegorz Sakson is sure that AWPL on the 14th October will have a good chance of making the electoral threshold as well as getting some new seats in one-seat constituencies. AWPL party at the time has three members in one-seat constituencies: in the constituency ofVilnius and Solecznik,Vilnius and Trocki,Vilnius and Szyrwiny. Sakson hopes that after the election there will be a chance of keeping current positions as well as victory in one-seat constituency ofVilnius. He also thinks, that AWPL party may be able to introduce from 5 to 7 candidates from the national register.
Sakson, in an interview for the Wnet Radio, confirmed the fact, that the people of AWPL party are thinking about themselves as a political force concerned more with social matters but also bearing in mind problems of the minorities. “Our trace is in the electric business as well as in foreign, social and tax policy. We speak out in different matters. Of course, we try to remember about our problems with education, land ownership, name spelling or the double names of the streets. We do remember about these problems. And it is what we will be taking care of”- Sakson emphasized.
A lawyer fromVilniusthinks that with the possible coalition conversations, Polish minorities’ laws and land restoration problems cannot be discarded. “As a matter of fact, there is nothing that we can give up. These problems have to be taken care of. (…) Laws concerning double names of the streets or entries in passports with original names are the very problems that we have to solve, and there are no legal or linguistic contraindications concerning them. These problems have to be solved immediately.”- the candidate emphasized. Similarly, in terms of the renewal of the Education Policy, he has a similar opinion, however he also admits, that the return to the status quo prior to the renewal will not be possible. In Sakson’s opinion, in terms of the uniform of Lithuanian language exam, a very long time is needed to resolve it.
“Lithuanian parties will not avoid implementing these demands as long as there is big delegation. That would be about 8-9 members of the parliament. That will be an eminent power. We didn’t have such power before”- Grzegorz Sakson thinks. His own chances of election, Sakson , a candidate in one- seat constituency of Fabianiszki, estimates very cautiously: “I’m realistic in terms of that constituency. During the previous election I managed to gain 8.1% votes. At that time, there were 13 candidates, now there are 17. Difference is quite big. It’s good that in my constituency there are no candidates with Polish or Russian names, so I suppose I may gain a few more votes. Only the time can show what the results are. (…) nevertheless there is hope to make it to the second turn”.
The lack of Poles is a negative factor as to their rights
One of the reasons why Stanisław Tarasiewicz is running for the parliament is that current government hasn’t had any new ideas concerning the country’s policy. “Why did I decide to run in these elections? Basically it was influenced by two reasons. First of all, we as we could and can observe, current government, irrespective of the party, has no idea whatsoever concerning the policy of our country. That is why I decided to be a candidate of the TAIP party. It is a fresh, energetic party which members have a clear idea of a country , Vilnius serving as an example of it, where under the leadership of mayor Zuokas, the city has became an example of an European capital”- Tarasiewicz commented in Wnet Radio.
Tarasiewicz also indicated, that nowadays there is a shortage of Polish people in Lithuanian parties, which has a negative influence on the situation of Polish minorities. “Another reason is more connected with nationality, as before, there were definitely more Poles in Lithuanian parties than there are now. They used to take part in the election process, they were also members of the parliament. All these factors, in my opinion, have influenced the situation of Polish minorities inLithuania. That situation didn’t use to be as fragile as it is nowadays. Due to many different aspects, Poles in Lithuanian parties have became a rarity. That is the reason why in these parties, there is no centrifugal movement that would somehow indicate the treatment of minorities”- the candidate explained.
Tarasiewicz emphasizes, that people concerned with “The YES Movement” have prepared many possible solutions to the problem of national minorities, that is: passing a law of national minorities, rehabilitation of the Department of National Minorities, solving other problems (names spelling, bilingual names of the streets, etc) according to European law: “Obviously in each European country there may different solutions, but we will base our policy on good solutions, for example Polish ones”.
Tarasiewicz, who is a candidate In a constituency of Vilniusand Trock, is a true believer in his success. “I’m not estimating my chances. I’m just doing everything to win. The constituency is not so difficult and Polish election campaign is not a dominant force there. It has to be reminded, that it was only in the last term of Polish candidate, that he was able to win there, and prior to that the winners there were the ones of the so-called Lithuanian parties.”- Stanisław Tarasiewicz announced.
Politicians don’t understand regular people’s lives
Tarasiewicz’s counercandidate in the constituency ofVilniusand Trocki is another Polish woman- Ałła Dekan, one of the Liberal Movement candidate. “ Every person living inLithuaniacan see that there are changes our country desperately needs and current government cannot provide us with. I think that those changes could eventually happen when new, fresh government is elected. Secondly, politics is too distant from society which sometimes results in the fact that politicians don’t understand problems of regular people”- Ałła Dekan explained her decision run for the post.
For Dekan the most important issue is the social one. “Current political system of social aid is directed at helping unemployed people to scrape through, it even enhances being unemployed. I like the fact that our program includes a section for human rights, a point about the individual. There should also be made changes concerning youth, kindergarten policy and the way district governors are elected.
„I’m perfectly willing to making life of every Lithuanian better. My manifesto concerns mainly young people, families with children. It seems that lately these are the groups that had been mostly discarded”- Ałła Dekan said. Nevertheless, it is not certain that people will vote for her.
The election will take place on 14th October.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Borkowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Borkowska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.