The Polish Social-Democrats Democratic Left Alliance, SLD (members of S&D with 5 MEPs in the current EP) will not compete in the European Parliament elections on their own. In May 2019 they will run in a major pro-European bloc called the European Coalition. The Polish Greens also joined the bloc.
Social-Democrats: we need one army to fight the enemy
First the SLD: the party leader, Włodzimierz Czarzasty, announced the news on Saturday, 16 February 2019. The message of the SLD leader is bleak. Czarzasty: “Four more years of PiS rule, and you will not be able to recognise your country” and “after the death of the president of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, everything is possible.”
Czarzasty view is that PiS is totalitarian and everybody who is not a PiS partisan should unite. Since the new party Spring of Robert Biedroń refused to join the European Coalition, the SLD leader has a dark message for the former Słupsk mayor: “Progressive populism is just as dangerous as right-wing populism. Politics of one objective to become prime minister is of no value. Denying the reality with the slogan ‘it’s not our war’ is a lack of responsibility. You can not be nice to everyone – not everyone deserves it.”
He says who should be in the European Coalition: the PSL and PO, the Polish Greens, .Modern and SLD. The European Coalition is the place for responsible people, responsible for Europe.
Czarzasty talks policies: SLD supports adoption of the Euro in Poland, “European standards in remuneration and social policy” and the EU minimal wage. The Alliance also would like to see Poland’s accession to the banking union and creation of a European army.
Their motto from the past still stands: “More of Poland in the EU and more of Europe in Poland”.
Czarzasty explains what it means for them to be on a joint list with EPP, the Liberals and the Greens: “We want to go together, but under our own banners and into our EP groups. If the enemy is one, then one army must fight them”.
The SLD candidates within the European Coalition are already known. They are three former SLD prime ministers Leszek Miller, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Marek Belka as well as two of the current MEPs Bogusław Liberadzki and Janusz Zemke. The new faces in Europe – if elected – include Jerzy Wenderlich, Małgorzata Sekuła-Szmajdzińska, Marek Balt, Andrzej Szejna, Riad Haidar (a Syrian-born doctor) and Katarzyna Piekarska.
The Greens: the coalition of values
On Sunday, 17 February the Polish Greens also joined the European Coalition. Its leader is Marek Kossakowski: “Without a strong community of European countries, the protection of Earth’s resources and the fight against climate change will end with a catastrophe. Unfortunately, the current government of Law and Justice is wading into an open conflict with the European Union”. He continued that the Greens and all other political forces within the European Coalition share the European values. The Greens believe that on 26 May Poles again – like 16 years before – will vote “yes” to Europe by voting the European Coalition.
Apparently the Greens seek to have candidates in all 13 regions of Poland. Should someone be elected into the EP, the MEP will join the Green group. The Greens’ main message: green energy transformation plan. The Green leading candidates are Miłka Stępień (Wielkopolska), Urszula Zielińska (Warsaw), Julia Rokicka (Lower Silesia and Opole), Ewa Sufin-Jacquemart (Małopolska and Świętokrzyskie), Maciej Józefowicz (Podkarpacie), Artur Mazur (Lubelskie), Idris Dawido (Mazowsze), who is a doctor of Kurdish origin.
This is important. The European Coalition press conference was an ad hoc initiative. Today it seems to take shape. SLD enjoys a stable support of about 5%. Five years ago SLD received 9,44% votes which provided 5 mandates. The Alliance failed to be elected to Sejm in 2015 because they were seeking a higher, 8% barrier for coalitions. The SLD-led coalition scored 7,55% and since 2015 Poland is the only major country in the European Union without a social democratic MP.
The SLD problem is their falling support. Not only the party has fallen from 41% support in 2001 to 11% four years later. Ever since the figures are falling and the voters are looking for alternatives.
The Greens are unknown. The party does not record much support. Their presence is a real life chance to attract progressives, as the party doesn’t need 5% threshold.
What this news also confirms is the fact that the Poles and all other Europeans voting in Poland on 26 May will have the following options: European Coalition (PO-SLD-Green, for the moment, expected to join PSL, .M and smaller partners like IP), the United Right of Law and Justice and two other governmental parties (PiS in coalition with the Solidary Poland and Agreement) and challengers. The two challengers are on the left side Spring and on the right side Kukiz’15. All of the parties are nominally pro-European, yet United Right coalition and Kukiz’15 are unhappy with the way EU is managed today. On top of them there will be a far-right alternative to the Law and Justice.