Some ideas take years to materialise. Some take the world by storm.
Early December 2018 Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Poland’s former left wing prime minister, foreign minister and for many years an independent senator, appeals: “if the opposition does not unite, it is responsible for the PiS continued rule”. Mr Cimoszewicz was the foreign minister when Poland’s EU accession treaty was signed in 2003.
1 Feb 2019, during a press conference in Warsaw with 6 former prime ministers he signs a declaration of cooperation of all the pro-European political forces in Poland. The European Coalition for Poland is born.
What looks like a call for action turns reality within weeks. The Civic Platform (PO), the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), the Polish Greens, the liberal parties .Modern and Now! and finally, on 23 Feb, the agrarian Polish Popular Party (PSL) join the coalition.
The PSL adherence is important. Latest opinion polls suggest that a coalition which includes PSL has a major shot at overcoming the primacy of Law and Justice. Without the PSL the struggle is more dramatic: one poll puts the European Coalition behind PiS ahead of Spring, Kukiz’15 and PSL. With the PSL onboard the chance of winning is real. PSL decision is not unanimous, as the party announces:
21 Feb an opinion poll is published which includes all the political actors as they are today: with PSL in the European Coalition and with the Spring party. The European Coalition is not only first, it leads Law and Justice by 4pp.
Should this poll prove right, the European Coalition would have 23 MEPs to be distributed between EPP, ALDE, S&D and the Green groups in the EP. Law and Justice would elect 21 MEPs, who would be associated with a new group post-ECR. One option is to cooperate with a new initiative of Matteo Salvini. Spring’s 5 MEPs would most likely seat with the ALDE+ group, should the Macron’s MEPs also be affiliated with the group. Last, Kukiz’15’s 4 MEPs would sit with the new group lead by Cinque Stella. The far-right does not enter the EP, according to the poll:
There is a number of hurdles for the European Coalition. First, the programme and a cohesive message to the populace. This is a wide and diverse group. It will not be easy to keep the message(s) and infighting under control. What unites the group is a general agreement with the way the EU is today. They do not seek to change the Union – except for maybe the Greens.
Second, the electoral lists. With so many parties there are a number of potential leaders. Maybe too many of them. What we can be sure of right now is that nothing has been decided yet. The pool of potential front people include former prime ministers Mr Cimoszewicz, Mr Miller, Mr Belka, Mr Buzek, Mr Marcinkiewicz and Ms Kopacz, current MEPs like Ms Thun, Mr Liberadzki, Ms Łukacijewska, Mr Lewandowski, Ms Hubner, Mr Kalinowski and former ministers like Mr Sikorski and Mr Arłukowicz…
Third, the win. The stakes are high. The European Coalition is running to win with Law and Justice. If they fail to win there shall be serious repercussions among the opposition leaders, especially for Mr Schetyna, PO’s leader.