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Election 2011 – building a coalition

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 11.10.2011 08:12
With all the votes counted after Poland's parliamentary elections on Sunday, Civic Platform (PO) received 39.18 percent of the vote and have 206 MPs in the lower house (Sejm).

graphic - PAP

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08.10 CET: Law and Justice (PiS) will be the next biggest party with 158 seats (after receiving a 29.98 percent vote share).

The Palikot Movement (RP) will have 40 seats in the lower house (10 percent), the Polish Peasant's Party (PSL) 28 seats (8.36 percent) and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) 27 seats (8.24 percent).

The German Minority are, as usual guaranteed one seat in the Sejm.

Turnout was officially 48.87 percent according to the National Election Commission, down from 56 percent in the elections in 2007. 14,369,503 Poles voted on Sunday.

The election commission announced last night that in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, Civic Platform have 63 senators, Law and Justice 31, PSL 4 and others 2.

08.22 CET: Former leftist president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski has said that he plans to meet with Janusz Palikot, whose new liberal/left Palikot Movement came from nowhere to get 10 percent of votes on Sunday.

“I think the left needs dialogue and cooperation on various issues,” Kwasniewski, the only president of Poland to win two consecrative terms in office has said.

08.40 CET: Yesterday evening, Civic Platform leader and prime minister for the last four years Donald Tusk met with head of the Polish Peasant's Party (PSL) Waldemar Pawlak for coalition talks.

Pawlak, who was deputy prime minister in the previous coalition, said the talks ended inconclusively.

“It is important to build a government that is based on a solid majority [in parliament] giving a guarantee for the stable functioning of the country,” Pawlak added.

PSL are thought to be demanding at least the control of the three ministries they had in the previous government: economy, agriculture and labour and social policy.

08.50 CET: As to the composition of a new Civic Platform-led cabinet, finance minister Jacek Rostowski and foreign minister Radek Sikorski are predicted to keep their jobs. So too will Tomasz Siemoniak at defence and possibly Ewa Kopacz at health.

Top of Tusk's list to be moved or sacked is minister of infrastructure Cezary Grabarczyk, who withstood numerous calls for his resignation from the opposition and votes of no confidence in the last parliament. (IAR)

09.42 CET: The Rzeczpospolita newspaper quotes an unnamed source within Law and Justice outlining a possible breakaway political faction around two hard-line PiS members of the European Parliament Zbigniew Ziobro and Jacek Kurski.

“We are losing and people are furious,” the source said. Read more...

09.55 CET: President Bronislaw Komorowski will be having talks with all parties in parliament on possible coalitions, his office has told Polish Radio.

The president wants to first have talks with Civic Platform tomorrow, then Law and Justice, Palikot Movement, PSL and SLD in that order. Consultations will run until Friday. (IAR)

10.00 CET: Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski will be giving his first press conference since his party's defeat on Sunday at noon, local time, today, the PAP news agency is reporting. Will he talk about rumours of possible splits within his party?

10.11 CET: Tough times are ahead of whatever new coalition emerges. “Poland must reduce its budget deficit or face a possible rating cut in the medium term,” David Riley, head of sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, has said. The government is going to have to enact “quite a strong austerity program” to cut its deficit as the European debt crisis means Poland will probably miss its economic growth targets, London-based Riley said in an interview. (Reuters)

10.30 CET: Former Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) prime minister Leszek Miller, who was elected as an MP on Sunday, told Polish Radio this morning that his party will form a “constructive opposition” to the government and will cooperate with it in certain areas. “We will not be saying 'No, no, no'...but 'No, but I have a better idea',” he said.

11.05 CET: In other news, the judge in the Yulia Tymoshenko trial in Kiev has said she “criminally” abused her powers in a Russian energy deal in 2008. More on that here.

11.40 CET: A tough task awaits Law and Justice (PiS) which has to review campaign mistakes leading to its defeat and set fresh plans for future activity, writes the ultra-conservative and PiS supporting Nasz Dziennik this morning. It adds that this task shall require substantial redefining of strategy. Victory laurels no more for PiS, comments the daily referring to the sixth consecutive election loss for the major opposition party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

11.45 CET: Financial daily Puls Biznesu hails Janusz Palikot as the master of what it describes as “optimal political investment costs”. Calculations have clearly shown that the newly formed Palikot Movement, which scored a surprising third place, has spent 0.7 zloty per vote secured in the parliamentary elections, while the two major contenders – Civic Platform and Law and Justice – spent 5 zloty per vote gained. The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Palikot’s direct political opponent, had even “invested” 16.7 zloty for every vote won in the parliamentary race.

11.49 CET: The tabloid Fakt speculates on reasons for the absence of Marta Kaczynska, daughter of the tragically killed presidential couple Lech and Maria Kaczynski in the Smolensk air disaster last year, at her uncle’s campaign staff headquarters on election night. Insiders close to the family have suggested the no-show might have been triggered by some patronizing comments relating to Marta in Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s book brought out in the week preceding the Sunday vote. The book, Poland of my dreams, contains the Law and Justice leader’s personal evaluation of a list of political adversaries, acquaintances as well as friends and family members. When describing his late twin brother’s daughter, Jaroslaw dwells on Marta’s love affairs in the context of relations with her parents and wonders about reasons for her hasty and not the most fortunate marriages.

12.13 CET: Tymoshenko has been sentenced to 7 years in jail...expect strong reaction from EU.

13.10 CET: The Polish Confederation of Private Employers (PKPP) is compiling a list of demands to present to the incoming 'pro-business' government, following Sunday's general election.

13.35 CET: Poland's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying that the trial and sentencing of Tymoshenko shows the “politicization of justice” in Ukraine.

The statement on the ministry's web site says that the ruling has “seriously damaged the image of Ukraine”. On Kiev's EU aspirations, the Foreign Ministry says that the ex-Soviet nation must “consolidate and apply relevant norms and standards [in keeping] with the social and political order of the European Union.”

13.50 CET: A statement from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the Tymoshenko trial confirmed that justice was being applied selectively in Ukraine in politically motivated prosecutions of opposition leaders and members of the former government. "The EU will reflect on its policies towards Ukraine," she said in a statement on behalf of the European Union. "The way the Ukrainian authorities will generally respect universal values and rule of law, and specifically how they will handle these cases, risks having profound implications for the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship, including for the conclusion of the Association Agreement, our political dialogue and our cooperation more broadly." (Reuters)

14.34 CET: Former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), told journalists at a press conference this morning that he will remain in his position, “unless the party decides otherwise.”

Online reporting by Peter Gentle. Additional reporting Slawek Szefs.

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