- October 15, 2012
Political scientists and journalists: possibility for new opening in Polish-Lithuanian relations. Wołkonowski’s commentary.
The result of the election was not a surprise, say political scientists and journalists asked about it by PL DELFI. The policy of liberal-conservative government towards national minorities and mitigating the rhetoric of the party contributed to AWPL’s crossing the electoral threshold.
Initial data says that the future ruling coalition will be a centre-left one, so PL DELFI’s interviewees hope that it may influence the Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Komar: AWPL broadened the national electorate
The journalist, Jacek Jan Komar claims that the recent conflicts of the central authorities with the Polish national minority in Lithuania had a great influence on the AWPL’s results. It was not the only reason why the party managed to cross the electoral threshold. “Mobilization of the electorate played a major role. I mean the Polish part of the electorate. All the problems like spelling of last names, double notices or the education law played a part. I think that the educational law did much of harm, because the Poles have felt danger. That is why they gathered around AWPL.”-commented Mr Komar on the results.
In the opinion of the journalist a coalition with the Russian Alliance and the Lithuanian People’s Party was a good move. “Actually it is not a surprise. One cannot say that AWPL has broadened the Polish electorate but surely it has expanded the national one.”-emphasized Mr Komar. Lithuanian votes, as Mr Komar believes, could help AWLP in crossing the electoral threshold. Lithuanian voters might be impressed by the fact that the leader of AWPL was constantly emphasising that his party, throughout the whole time of its existence, has not been involved in any corruption affair.
Radczenko: total defeat of so-called Lithuanian Taliban pleases
The journalist Aleksander Radczenko is not surprised by the electoral results. “The results are as one might expect them. Centre-left wing has won, populists— because of fragmentation and tiredness of anti-system electorate— achieved much less than they expected, and AWLP, after they left out confrontational rhetoric and used mistakes of the current government related to the policy towards national minorities, attained historical, though expected, victory. The total defeat of so-called Lithuanian Taliban pleases. The nationalists achieved around 1% of votes, Songalia will remain outside the Seym, probably a few nationalistic candidates will have seats since they ran from lists of “The Way of Courage” and the conservatists, but there is a chance that there will be much fewer of them than there has been in the current Seym”— believes the journalist and independent blogger Aleksander Radczenko.
Only the good result of the liberals and conservatists is surprising, and it creates a chance for an intrigue, based on them possibly remaining the ruling group, in case the dialogue about a coalition between social-democratic party, the Labour Party and the “Order and Justice” fails— believes Radczenko.
In his opinion the new Seym— no matter who eventually will create the ruling coalition— creates a possibility of a new opening not only in the Lithuanian-Polish relation but also in the inner relations between the Poles and the Lithuanians.
Grużewski: Number of voters has increased
Bogusław Grużewski, the manager of the Institute of Labour and Social Research thinks that four factors influenced the AWLP’s electoral results: the votes were not accidental, people trust the party, national minorities have problems and the electorate of the general Lithuanian parties is volatile. “In my opinion the AWLP’s results are not a momentary phenomenon. We can see that the number of the party’s supporters and voters is growing. Even when the attendance is higher than usually, they guaranteed that AWPL crossed the threshold.”—said Grużewski in his interview with PL DELFI.
In the researcher’s opinion it is a sign of the voters’ trust for the party. “It is well visible against the background of the wavering supporters of other parties.”—pointed out the manager of the Institute. It is very important for the party to meet the voters’ expectations. “Now AWPL should listen carefully and not disappoint the supporters in the future.”—emphasized Mr Grużewski.
However, in his opinion, to analyse AWLP’s results in detail, one should carry out a research. “It is worth looking at the dynamics of voters in particular districts; then, I think, we would understand it better how the phenomenon of AWPL works.”— said Mr Grużewski
Wołkonowski: Some accents bother me
Jarosław Wołkonowski, the dean of the Vilnius branch of the University of Białystok, is happy about the AWPL’s victory, but he is not an optimist when it comes to the relations between Lithuania and Poland. “This question is very important for Poles in Lithuania. The coalition that social-democrats, the Labour party and the party of Mr Paksas are trying to create does not look too optimistic if one considers the words of these parties’ politics from the last six months.”— pointed out Mr Wołkonowski.
In his opinion AWPL has used all electoral reserves during the election. “The result is very similar to the one that the party got in local government election. If the attendance was even higher, AWPL probably would not cross the electoral threshold.”—he thinks. According to him, it is also important that AWLP have its own fraction in the Seym, in which there would be only AWPL members, without the electoral partners. Wołkonowski thinks that if the representatives of the Russian party or the party of Mr Prunskus also got to the Seym, there could appear a situation similar to the one that occurred a year ago in Vilnius self-government- with time they could go to other parties.
The closest ones, looking at the worldview, seem to be, in the opinion of Mr Wołkonowski, social-democrats. He has some doubts about the two remaining parties creating the ruling coalition. The Labour Party tends to avoid the Polish case, and “The Order and Justice” is getting closer and closer to the national option. “ ‘The Order and Justice’ has become a very pro-national group. There are some accents in their actions that bother me. Two years ago the party had postulates that were friendly towards the Polish minority.”— stated Mr Wołkonowski.
It will be an important moment in the process of creating the coalition— deciding who will be the fourth partner. In the dean’s opinion it would be best if it was the Liberal Movement. “It is the only Lithuanian party that openly speaks about the original spelling of last names.”- he emphasized.
A big surprise for Mr Wołkonowski was the fact that “The Way of Courage” has crossed the threshold, and that The Labour Party has receives so many votes. In the Polish researcher’s opinion, in the first case it could have been that people took the whole “pedophilia affair” very personally and they want to know the truth. In the case of The Labour Party the materialistic mechanism worked. “Winter is coming. The process of gas and heating are high. Maybe people think that Uspaskich, as a PM, will regulate the matters in some way.”—said Jarosław Wołkonowski.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.