We are a good proposition for a voter. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania celebrates their 20th anniversary

Lider AWPL powiedział, że obchody 20-lecia partii będą przeprowadzane kolejno w oddziałach, bowiem celem jest zaproszenie i podziękowanie jak największej liczbie członków AWPL. Ogółem, jak zaznaczył W. Tomaszewski, zostanie wysłanych 4000 podziękowań-zaproszeń, udział zaś w uroczystościach jubileuszowych weźmie około 3000 osób © L24 (Marian Paluszkiewicz)

“20 years – it is time to assess and summarise the activity. It is the time to thank for work done and the occasion to unite before next battle – the elections on the 1st of March 2015,” said Wanda Krawczonek, the vide-chairperson of the Vilnius Branch of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, the member of Lithuanian Parliament, during the event organised for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the party.

On Saturday, the 18th of October, the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the political group began and it will be conducted in all branches.

The celebration in the House of Polish Cuture in Vilnius was preceded by a Mass conducted by the priest Sławomir Skwarczek in the Assumption of Mary Church in Vilnius. The believers who came to the Mass asked God for the blessing, health and perseverance of the management, members and supporters of the branch in Vilnius. The participants of the Mass prayed for those party members who passed away including the late scout and Home Army soldier Władysław Korkuć who died that night.

The chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, a member of the European Parliament, Waldemar Tomaszewski said to numerous participants of the celebration in his speech that the party still is an attractive proposition for voters. “We are a good proposition for voters because our activity is based on honesty and conscientiousness. Unfortunately, not many parties in Lithuanian politics can offer the same. We always keep our promises and care for an ordinary citizen of our country,” said W. Tomaszewski, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania.

The leader of the party said that the celebration of the 20th anniversary will be conducted in all branches because the aim is to invite and thank the highest number of member and supporters of the party. W. Tomaszewski said that 4000 acknowledgements-invitations will be sent and 3000 people will take part in anniversary celebrations.

The leader of the party said that the party never tries to gain power at all costs, which was proved by leaving the ruling coalition after the partners in coalition did not keep their promises.

Saying how important for the organisation are the up-coming elections, W. Tomaszewski said that although the votes are very important, they are only „a tool to the program that is orientated toward the prosperity of citizens, not an aim itself.” The leader of the party said that the party moves forward and during the local elections next year they will put up the list of its candidates not only in Vilnius Region but also in new electoral districts.

Although the elections will be a challenge, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania believes in success, “Looking in those young faces and being aware of the potential had, I can say that with such a strong army we will win this battle.”

Michał Mackiewicz is the president of the Association of Poles in Lithuania and one of the founders of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. W. Krawczonek said that in his Vilnius flat “first brave thoughts about the establishment of the party were expressed.” Michał Mackiewicz said that maintaining the unity and further building the Polish community in Lithuania are very important tasks. He said that Poles are scattered all around the world should build Polish lobby.

Józek Kwiatkowski, the president of the Association of Polish teachers in Lithuania “Macierz Szkolna” and a member of Lithuanian Parliament said that the fight for minds including young people does not stop. “In spite of many obstacles and attempts to destroy Polish education, we retained it thanks to the work of active people.” He added that talking about Polish education in Vilnius, “perspectives are good.”

In next weeks, there will be another 5 anniversary celebrations in the rest of the branches of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania.

At the beginning of the year 1994 in Lithuania, the Act on Social Organisations was issued according to which by the end of the year, they had to become political parties or remain social organisations. By that time, the Association of Poles in Lithuania was a sociopolitical organisation, which gave it rights to participate both in social and political life.

In May that year, the Lithuanian Parliament issued an act under which only political parties and organisations have the right to take part in elections. Polish community had a difficult task having no own party – keeping the Association of Poles in Lithuania and at the same time taking part in political life in Lithuania. The establishment of the party required a big organisational effort, for example the coming of at least 400 founders in the middle of the summer. It was not certain if the party would be registered in the Ministry of Justice without any problem.

In this situation, the Management Board of the Association of Poles in Lithuania summoned the Extraordinary Congress of the Association of Poles in Lithuania. Short time before the Congress, the initiative group of the establishment of a Polish party was created. Waldemar Tomaszewski was the coordinator of the group. At the Congress, a good decision was made: the transformation of the Association of Poles in Lithuania into a social organisation and the support of the group initiating the establishment of the party with the name the Electoral Action of the Association of Poles in Lithuania. Within two weeks, with active co-operation of the structure of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, 739 signatures of the founders were collected, the program and statute of the future party were prepared and the Foundation Congress was carried out on the 28th of August. On the 23rd of October, after the insisting of Lithuanian Ministry of Justice on the removal of the word “association” from the name, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania was registered.

The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania fulfils statutory assumptions running for elections on different levels – from local to parliamentary and europarliamentary in 2004. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania has ruled for ten years in the regions dominated by Polish people: Vilnius District Municipality (63 per cent Poles) and Šalčininkai District Municipality (80 per cent Poles). In local government elections in those regions, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania gets 60-70 per cent support. In a few other regions, the party belong to the ruling coalition and has the influence on decisions made. During the whole period of existence, the party had many battles for the rights of Polish minority in Lithuania and it won many of them. Many a time, it organised demonstrations in front of Lithuanian Parliament to protect Polish education, language and land. Together with the Association of Poles in Lithuania and the Association of Polish Schools “Macierz Szkolna”, the party conducted actions of collecting signatures for the projects supporting the acts on Polish community and national minorities.

The Association of Polish Schools “Macierz Szkolna” cares for the development of Polish schools in Vilnius Region and for the economic development of the region. Thanks to joint efforts in last 20 years, Polish community in Lithuania has the strongest position in the world in comparison to other Polish communities abroad.

Source: http://l24.lt/pl/spoleczenstwo/item/41532-jestesmy-dobra-oferta-dla-wyborcy-awpl-obchodzi-20-lecie

Tłumaczenie by Marta Wojtowicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Wojtowicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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