Polish politics truly is a joy – full of surprises and ins and outs, comings and goings. Yesterday evening Jan Maria Rokita (never trust a man with a woman’s name) walked out of politics. In a late-evening interview with Andrzej Morozowski on TVN24 Rokita ostentatiously announced to the world that he will not be standing in the upcoming elections.
For Love Nor Money…
Although shocked by this bombshell (his body language told the truth of the matter, his eyes were all over the place) Andrzej Morozowski was professional and calm enough to ask a few vital questions that shed light on the thermonuclear explosion that came with this announcement. It turns out Rokita took the decision to walk out of politics for love… (shyeah right!)
There is a lot of history to this decision and it seems to have begun several years ago when cracks began to appear in the cherub-like facade of Civic Platform (PO). It became apparent that Donald Tusk and Jan Rokita were not the closest of buddies everyone made them out to be. Disagreements became tiffs, tiffs became arguments, arguments became public slanging matches. The atmosphere cooled but the damage had been done. Rokita was no longer joint leader of PO and Tusk became its overload.
Things began to hot up when local leaders of Kraków’s PO office (Rokita is from Kraków) decided not to put Rokita’s Kraków colleagues’ names forward for re-election. Rokita then came out with his ultimatum – either the names of his ‘crew’ are put forward for re-election or he resigns. Negotiations began…
Love Thy Wife
When Rokita explained his reasons for leaving the political scene he gave one major reason – because he loves and respects his wife. Several hours before Nelly Rokita (Jan’s German wife) had decided to move to the enemy camp and become Lech Kaczyński’s presidential advisor for women’s affairs. Obviously, the repercussions for PO were seismic as Nelly had herself once been a member of this party. Rokita announced that out of respect for his wife and not to create an ambiguous situation where one half of the marriage was in the Law and Justice (PiS) camp and the other in the PO camp, he felt it right to resign.
Most commentators wholeheartedly believe that Nelly’s decision to join the dark-side was a great excuse for Jan Maria to jump ship and show PO the middle finger in thanks for the way he has been treated for the last few years and especially following the PO ‘Battle for Kraków’. My own peculiar theory is that Rokita’s decision to resign from active politics now – at the start of the election campaign – is a masterstroke which will allow him to return as an independent candidate, supported by both parties in the future PO-PiS coalition as a bridge between the two camps. For those who do not know, Rokita is a kind of devil in Polish…