It was Donald Tusk who was the first political leader to lead his party to two consecutive terms in office, but the present ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), has done one better by winning power twice in a row with overall parliamentary majorities, and two consecutive terms for a president backed by the ruling party.
Now, PiS is going for an unprecedented third term. If it succeeds, it will have proven to all its domestic detractors and doubters that it is possible to govern and win while maintaining an independent course of action with regard to Russia, the EU and even the White House.
The key issue here is not what the present government has succeeded in achieving, for instance, strengthening the army, social support, and diversification of energy sources; nor is it about what did not work out such as housing policy and electric cars.
What is most important is the attitude of the present ruling party towards the independence of the Polish state.
Since 1989, successive governments assumed that nothing could be done without the approval of greater powers.
Even though “Finlandization” was abandoned, the march towards NATO and the European Union was one conducted mainly with Poland on its knees. Polish elites did not feel confident enough for Poland to have an independent position of its own. Too many of those elites were descendants of communist Poland who had been conditioned to be submissive.
This lack of confidence in Poland’s potential for sovereignty was a flaw. Just because Poland had painfully lost sovereignty during the partitions — in 1939 and then to the USSR — it was assumed that it was impossible. But the role of a nation’s rulers is to fight for sovereignty and this has at least been done over the last seven years.
And if a third term is secured, it will show the nation and its elites that this quest can succeed. Poland can aspire to sovereignty and make its own way in the world.