Episode 52

Parliamentary Election Results & more–17th Oct 2023

The ruling party: first place but not winners; army generals’ resignation, fraud in Warsaw, negative fertility rate, the Komeda Jazz Festival, and much more!

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Witam from BA! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 17th of October twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s kick off this episode with news about the parliamentary elections that took place on Sunday the 15th.

The ruling Law and Justice ranked first with thirty-six percent of the votes. The Civic Platform, the opposition party, ended up in second place with thirty-one percent. The coalition of the Polish People’s Party and the Poland twenty fifty Party secured fourteen percent of the votes. The left party stood at nine percent, and the far-right party, the Confederation, counted at only six percent.

Even though the ruling party came first, they won only 200 seats in the parliament out of the 231 needed to gain a majority. In this situation, the Law and Justice party should form a coalition with any other party but the opponents have no intention to merge with the ruling party. Most probably the Civic Platform, the Third Way alliance, and the Left parties will form a coalition that would have 249 seats in the parliament, which is enough to form a government.

So, what will happen next? The current government will resign and the new parliament should be formed within thirty days. President Andrzej Duda will then assign a task to form a government to one of the parties, possibly the ruling party as they ranked first, and the new government should get the parliament’s approval. If the ruling party fails to form a government within fourteen days, the president will give this duty to another party which will be the second party in rank, the Civic Coalition. People expect that the ruling party will fail in the first round and that the Civic Platform will form a government in the second round. Tomasz Grodzki, the speaker of the Senate, said that the government will be formed after the 22nd of December.

The constitution dictates that the elections should be just and equal. However, Prof. Adam Gendźwiłł, a lecturer from the University of Warsaw, revealed that votes in some constituencies "weigh" more than in others. On Wednesday, the 11th, he said that a candidate needs 87,000 votes to become a member of parliament in Warsaw city, while they would only need 59,000 votes to become a member of Parliament in the Sosnowiec district. The vote in small districts has become more valuable than in big cities because the population in Warsaw increased since twenty eleven but in small cities, it stayed the same.

As a consequence of this situation, ‘election tourism’ has become a thing in Poland. People travel to other cities to vote, where their votes would be more valuable.

Let’s move forward to the timely updates on internal affairs...

On Wednesday, the 11th, Andrzejczak, the head of the Polish army, and Piotrowski, the Operational Commander, resigned from the army. The generals were not happy with the ruling party’s policies. For instance, the use of military equipment during the Independence Day parade. The executive also said that the country was safe because they had invested in the military sector. On the other hand, the authorities had lost trust in the army because the commanders did not inform the government in a timely manner when a Russian missile hit Polish soil in late twenty twenty-two. All in all, the government and the army don’t trust each other.

Amid the resignation incident, opposition parties, including the Confederation Party, called on the defense minister to step down from his position because his distrust of the government puts the military order at risk in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The minister of defense didn’t respond to the opposition.

On the same note, more and more people are losing faith…

Some of the reasons people are leaving the church are the new cases that came to light about priests abusing their power. On Wednesday, the 11th, a fifty-four-year-old woman revealed that a priest called Father Antoni Dudek sexually abused her when she was eighteen years old in nineteen eighty-seven. Another twenty-three-year-old also said that the same priest abused her. For this reason, the Catholic Church started a proceeding to dismiss the priest from religious affairs.

The worst of luck is also facing the population statistics...

The country faces a negative fertility rate, meaning the number of newborns is decreasing over time. Sławomir Dudek, the founder of the Institute of Public Finance, warned that a demographic decline awaits the country within the next twenty-five years. On Thursday, the 12th, he said that the labor force will decrease and there will be more old people as the population ages. The country will need more immigrants in the future as its population will not sustain the workforce.

Following up on the previous week's news...

The most-viewed Polish YouTuber, Stuart Burton, or ‘Stuu’, sexually abused girls under fifteen. Aleksandry Adamczyk, the twenty-four-year-old Youtube blogger, broke the silence and revealed that when she was thirteen Stuu sent her sexual messages via social media. After the incident, the YouTuber escaped to Britain. On Saturday, the 14th, British police caught him at the request of the Warsaw prosecutor's office warrant. Burton is at risk of getting fifteen years in prison for his crime.

Let’s have a look at what’s new in foreign affairs...

Despite the fact that the government sides with Israel in the recent conflict in the Middle East, some citizens support Palestine. On Wednesday, the 11th, a group of 400 people gathered at the Nicolaus Copernicus monument in Warsaw. They carried Palestinian flags to protest against the bombing of the Gaza Strip. Another group of more than 100 people supporting Israel also appeared on the square. Luckily, there were no conflicts between the two groups.

Likewise, the army announced that they had evacuated over 1,500 people from Israel. There were approximately 1,200 Polish citizens among the evacuated.

Moving on to cultural life events...

The National Museum in Warsaw is hosting Pablo Picasso’s exhibition. The event will last until the 14th of January.

In another cultural update, the hand-painted animation movie The Peasants is a candidate for an Oscar. The Polish movie tells the story of a woman in a small Polish village who married a much older man. The movie touches on the subject of women's oppression and sexual violence.

In another event, Słupsk will host the Komeda Jazz Festival, and there are going to be events on each day until the 22nd of October. The festival includes concerts, exhibitions, Roman Polański’s short film screenings, among other activities.

In unrelated news…

On Wednesday, the 11th, an organization called Safe at Work Coalition revealed the results of a country-wide poll stating that forty percent of the working population experience stress every day at work. At the same time, only fifty percent of employers take measures to reduce the stress their workers are experiencing.

On the same day, authorities warned Warsaw residents about fraud. In recent days, the residents saw stickers with QR codes stating that they got a traffic fine and that they needed to pay the fine via the QR code on their cars. Yet, this is not true, and people should avoid scanning the QR code because doing so will give access to a program that will take money out of bank accounts linked to the phone.

When in Warsaw citizens faced fraud attempts, in Rzeszów people had difficulties with public transportation…

On Tuesday, the 17th, some of the public bus drivers protested against the low salary and demanded an eighty-dollar increase to the monthly salary. The protest didn't affect much public transportation since only forty buses out of 160 didn't leave the depot.

And that’s it for this week! Thank you for joining us!

Before we leave, we have a quick question for those following us for a while. How are we doing on bias? Ax grinding? We try to be independent and stick to the facts and context with favor and fear of none. How are we doing? Do we seem even a teensy bit biased? We are happy to see the Rorshok Poland community is growing and want to be the best at what we do! Tell us your thoughts and opinions at poland@rorshok.com or follow us on Instagram and Twitter @rorshokpoland or Mastodon @poland@rorshok.social

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