Polish Voters Elect Eurosceptic President; Disenchantment with Brussels Spreads
Andrzej Duda outed president Bronis?aw Komorowski, the the pro-Brussels incumbent centrist Civic Platform party president, in an election over the weekend. Komorowski was expected to win.
The Duda Victory Sent Shockwaves Through Polish Politics, and no doubt Brussels as well.
The win for the socially conservative, nationalist, eurosceptic party, which saw Mr Duda oust Bronis?aw Komorowski, the government-backed incumbent from the presidential palace, represents a significant lurch to the right in Polish politics. It has sent shockwaves through the country's political establishment that could ultimately topple the ruling party in October after eight years in power.
Backed by both the country's restless, anti-establishment youth and its conservative pensioners, Mr Duda's election, which was unthinkable just a few months ago, represents a significant and far-reaching rejection of the ruling Civic Platform party.
Mr Duda has called for a repatriation of more powers from Brussels to individual member states, an effort that chimes with British prime minister David Cameron's attempts to renegotiate the UK's relationship with Europe ahead of a referendum on its EU membership.
The vote illustrated deep divides in Polish society. Despite headline growth figures since 2008 that are almost twice as large as any other EU member, the fruits of Poland's economic boom have not been equally shared.
Strikingly, all of the country's poorer eastern regions backed Mr Duda, while the more prosperous western regions supported Mr Komorowski without exception.
In rural areas, 62 per cent of voters backed Mr Duda, according to an exit poll, while Mr Komorowski carried 59 per cent of votes from the country's cities.
Disenchantment with Brussels Spreads
The Polish unemployment rate is a modest 7.8%. Youth unemployment is 20.5% as of March. Both numbers are better than France and far better than Spain.
Poland and Spain are two countries with the highest growth rates, yet voters are increasingly agitated, as they should be.
The nannycrat policies of the eurozone (and EU in general), are not good for growth prospects or jobs.
Euroscepticism and/or general disenchantment with Brussels is on the rise in Spain, France, Greece, the UK, and now Poland.
On March 29, I reported Sarkozy, Le Pen Triumph Over Socialists in Second Round of Local Elections.
In the May UK election a Clean Sweep by UK Conservatives Masks Huge Rifts.
Cameron's party unexpectedly received a majority of votes UKIP, the eurosceptic UK Independence Party is now the third largest party in the UK although it only won a single parliamentary seat.
There is much disenchantment with Brussels, and it is spreading.