Polish plane crash to affect president election in October

15:11, April 15, 2010      

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Poland is still in deep mourning with a profound grief in the wake of the tragic plane crash that killed 96 people, including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria and 87 political and military leaders on April 10. Some media cite the tragic plane crash as a rare, unprecedented disaster in the political arena in Poland, with a far-reaching social, political influence.

The year 2010 is a presidential election year in Poland, and the presidential race will be held in October as planned. The parties launched their own candidates running for the presidency before. At least two very influential presidential candidates lost their lives in the air disaster: One is President Lech Kaczynski, who would seek the re-election, and other is Jerzy Szmajdzinski, the Democratic Left Alliance candidate and deputy Parliament speaker. Their unexpected death is bound to impact the election situation and upset the layout in their parties.

Prior to the plane crash, note Polish media, Kaczynski announced that he was scheduled to run for the presidential race in May. Some critics, however, considered Kacrysnki not a very popular president at the end of his four-year term in office since his support rate hovered round from one fifth to one third and ebbed even lower in the capital of Warsaw, where he once served as its mayor. In nearly 100 election-rated polls, not a single survey done so far indicates that he would win the coming presidential election.

For President Kaczynski, however, Poland's mainstream media and most populace held that he was just the spokesman for his twin brother's Law and Justice Party, which is very difficult to win over the middle voters with its one-third support rate.

In addition, Kaczynski has vetoed on a number of occasions the Polish government's health, financial and social insurance reform bills due to his conservative, dogged political viewpoints, and the ruling coalition has lambasted him as a "brake" in the national modernization process. On the world arena, Kaczynski has all along underlined the political national "political character" in European Union (EU) integration process, and many European leaders have referred to him as a "trouble-maker".

Today, his death is an undoubtedly irreparable loss to the Law and Justice Party, and it would immensely undermine the party's influence and long-term development. Nevertheless, he got killed while performing his duty, and so he attracted a lot of sympathy though he was subjected to criticisms during his lifetime. Polish media, however, deem that Kaczynski was honest, upright and the "greatest patriot" of all politicians in the country. The catastrophic air crash would arouse much public sympathy on a short run and, to some extent, it will help the Law and Justice Party he currently represents.

Meanwhile, some analysts say that the political structure and political system have taken shape on the whole in Poland and contests or rivalries between the parties are also to maturize and tend to stabilize in the struggles and adjustments. Anyway, the plane crash does not produce a fundamental impact in the entire Polish setup or state system, and the economic, social order is quite calm generally at present.

Moreover, the Warsaw Stock Market had a normal opening on the first Monday after the president's plane crash and hit a new high on April 12 and 13 ever since the outbreak of global financial crisis in 2008. Furthermore, there have been no abnormal fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Polish currency zloty to the euro, U.S. dollar and other major foreign currency.

By People's Daily Online and contributed by PD resident reporter Jin Zhao in Warsaw


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