On April 14th the long awaited convention of Law and Justice (ECR) took place. During the event, apart from Jarosław Kaczyński, who opened it, eminent members of the governing coalition gave speeches – Prime Minister Morawiecki and his predecessor Szydło on behalf of the senior partner PiS, as well as Jarosław Gowin and Zbigniew Ziobro – the leaders of Alliance and United Poland, junior partners in the coalition.
Inaugurating the meeting, the leader of Law and Justice referred to the recent polls that showed “Civic Coalition”, an alliance of Modern (ALDE) and Civic Platform (EPP), a few percentage points ahead of the governing parties – “We made some missteps and these missteps at least to some degree have influenced our support” – Kaczyński recognised. However, he appealed to the gathered not to take the unfavourable surveys into account, quoting a 2005 presidential poll carried out after the first round that suggested Tusk enjoyed 62% support, with his opponent, late Lech Kaczyński, scoring 38%. “And what was the result? Lech Kaczyński – 54, Donald Tusk – 46” – the leader pointed out, hinting that out of the recent polls, the one conducted by governmental CBOS is the correct one.
“We can lose”
Despite that, Kaczyński warned that “good change must be continued, its approval has to be maintained”. In a call to the United Right Wing, the leader argued that “you don’t enter politics for money” and that the coalition he chairs needs to consist of impeccable people, be a party of clean hands – “We have to strive so that we can’t be accused of anything, so that all accusations targeting us are only fictitious claims” – he insisted. He thus announced “there will be no remission for those who get their hands dirty”.
Summing up the achievements of Law and Justice, PM Morawiecki stressed the difference between his party and the previous government – “All this should have been done in the past, but in the past people with a heart of stone ruled”. As he sees it, PO and PSL (EPP) “only have one programme, which is called anti-PiS” and the only programme of the United Right Wing is Poland.
“We saw what our political adversaries offer” – the PM asserted – “one could call it loosely ‘nothing’s possible, we can do nothing’. We have shown that a different approach is possible”. Morawiecki tasked the coalition with providing Poles with ever more security of all kinds – social, financial, international, military and legal, brigning up words of Lech Kaczyński – “I will struggle so Poland is a democracy and a strong country that defends the weak and honest, while fighting cynicism and rougery” – which he deemed to outline the entirety of Law and Justice’s programme, listing the announced tax cut for small entrepreneurs and pensions for mothers of at least four children as examples.
According to Morawiecki, even though two victories in 2015 is “a lot”, it’s not enough to “improve the republic” and the governing coalition needs “many more years to change Poland”. Enumerating upcoming local election (2018), as well as European (2019), parliamentary (2019) and presidential (2020) ones, he assured that the United Right Wing would score a winning streak and succeed in them all – “We will win as we have a very good programme” – but he also warned that securing popular trust of Poles is crucial in achieving that.
Poland in Europe
International relations of Poland were also touched upon by Morawiecki. As he believes, “Poland’s role in Europe is growing more important” and is one of the key members of the EU, a member to be increasingly reckoned with, his evidence of that being the effective opposition to creation of a multi-speed Europe, for example by setting up a separate budget of the euro area. “Until recently it seemed we would be blocked in some of our actions” – he confessed, but also stressed that Poland is a sovereign country – “and we will implement all reforms the society awaits on our own terms”.
It is worth being a Pole
For the PM, 2018 is an exceptional year – a jubilee of restoration of “holy independence” and rallying around the national flag is “a great inherited obligation”. Morawiecki also highlighted that “it is worth and crucial to be a Pole” and do one’s best to build an ever better Poland for everyone – “We have dreamt and continue to dream of Poland of glass houses*, not Poland of glass ceilings”, as he put it, making a reference to a utopian vision by Żeromski.
The leader of Alliance, Jarosław Gowin, on the other hand, advocated to “invent Poland anew and then consistently implement these inventions”. To the suggestions his preceding speakers made, he added “a few insights of his”, calling for a reflection on Polish political system.
The deputy PM revealed that “musing on a new constitution is commencing” and declared his party is ready to join the debate. His first idea, presented still during the convention, was “family voting” – enabling parents of underage children casting not only their own votes, but also voting for their children. As he argued “These children are the future of Poland and those who raise them do not consider their own benefit only – they consider the benefit of the whole Poland”.
Christian Europe of Nations
Gowin also announced a Polish concept of European integration is to be worked on – “A kind of integration that will be based on the foundation of christian ethics”. The deputy PM promised to shape the European Project “in respect of its original, true, profound and far-sighted sense”, which is “in accordance with the concept of the Europe of Nations, a Europe built on its traditions and its christian identity”.
*Glass houses were a symbol of wealth, progress and bright future the protagonist of the novel was supposed to find in interwar Poland, but turned out to be a myth, causing his disillusionment.