Opinion polls are showing a clear trend towards the development of a three-party system, if not even a two-party system in Poland. Seen as a mark of a solid democracy, this pattern may signal the end of party splintering and bickering in Poland.
It might not, but there’s hope that three parties and three parties only – Civic Platform (PO), Law and Justice (PiS) and Left and Democrats (LiD) – will make up the next parliament and become rooted in the national consciousness as the ‘big three’.
An end to populist League of the Polish Right (LPR) and Self-Defence (Samoobrona) may bring relief to a host of people, although the loss of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) could be a sad moment.
Yesterday’s debate between (PiS) PM Kaczyński and former President (and LiD leader) Kwaśniewski showed that Kaczyński fears Donald Tusk and PO. The PM hopes that by agreeing to debate with Kwaśniewski (and not Tusk), LiD will slice a few percentage points off PO thereby allowing PiS to win.
Divide and Conquer
It is a dangerous game and one which could inadvertently lead to PiS losing the next elections. Kaczyński has already got rid of LPR and Self-Defence using his divide and conquer strategy but a similar strategy might not necessarily work with PO and LiD. What it will certainly do is strengthen core voter allegiances in all three parties.
The only hope for a ‘normalisation’ of politics in Poland through the development of a three-party system is voter participation. Only a large turnout which matches the European average (of around 80%) will bring change to Polish politics. It is time for Poles to change the face of their country themselves.