Emotions are still high after this week’s parliamentary vote over the European Union’s recovery fund. Every group won something from it with the exception of the Civic Platform (PO) and its chairman Borys Budka, which abstained during the voting.
Even the United Right paradoxically emerged victorious from the vote, although with highlighted differences within the coalition. Looking at the particular groups forming the coalition: Law and Justice (PiS) showed that it can still win important votes in parliament; Jaroslaw Gowin’s Agreement presented itself as a reliable political partner (which it needed image-wise) and Solidarity Poland gave a clear signal to the Euroskeptic electorate that they can count on it in the future.
In the case of the opposition groups: the Left party eagerly speaks of itself as a rational opposition party instead of a “total opposition” one. It is happily reaping the benefits from the consequential decisions of the last days to back the EU plan. It has also won doubly so: not only against the Civic Platform, but also the pressure from the liberal-left establishment which did not spare hate towards left-wing leaders and MPs.
The Poland 2050 political caucus (voted in favor), the Polish People’s Party (also in favor) and the Confederation (rejected the plan) — each of these groups achieved their goals in the voting process and showed what they can actually offer voters. They also showed their positions in not only state politics, but also the European arena. By not looking back at PO and its political calculations, each of these groups has shown that the silliest thing you can currently do in politics is look at what Borys Budka’s media-enhanced party does and does not desire.
This week, two myths about PO have finally fallen to the wayside. The first claimed that only it has enough political blades and parliamentary influence to impose its rights on other opposition players. The results of the vote show that PO will not be able to rebuild the myth about its power over the entire opposition. Both Poland 2050 and the Left party clearly see that it is not good for their PR or reputation to play PO’s game, as the game is no longer entertaining for the increasingly tired and disappointed post-PO electorate.
This is an electorate which really does not like PiS, but it dislikes vague games of the liberal and left politicians with the EU even more. This is because to a greater extent, the Polish electorate cannot imagine Poland outside of EU structures, dependencies and the EU system of financial support.
This is how PO negated the second of its political myths, which claimed that PO is a rational and pro-European party.
But this is not the end. For years Poles were being convinced that PiS’ fall will also unavoidably lead to PO’s rise as well and vice-versa. Yet, the vision of a “duopoly” was not worth that much in the end. PiS does not need PO to introduce its program of a post-pandemic reconstruction of Poland and does not even need the weakening, conflicted PO even as a negative point of reference. Both PiS and Poland will manage without PO, and this is not good news for Borys Budka and his party.
Title image: Leader of the Civic Platform party, Borys Budka, while voting in the Polish parliament, the Sejm.