Poland, a semi-presidential system in which there is both an elected president with real powers and a prime minister dependent on parliamentary confidence, has just completed its cycle of parliamentary and presidential elections. It was the first time in Poland’s brief democratic experience that the two institutions (presidency and parliament) had been elected in such close succession, and one of the leading parties is headed by twin bothers.
The Law and Justice Party, headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, came out on top (though well short of a majority) in the parliamentary elections of September 25. On Sunday, Lech Kaczynski, the current mayor of Warsaw, won the runoff and is now president-elect.
It would be possible for the twins to be president and prime minister, although Jaroslaw had already promised not to seek to be PM if his brother won the presidential election.
MarekNYC has further details on the coalition that will have to be formed involving both Law and Justice (PiS) and the Civic Platform (PO) party of the presidential runner-up, Donald Tusk.
On policy, MarekNYC concludes with the following observation:
On economic policy the PO wants to slash taxes for the rich and mildly cut expenditures on the poor while PiS wants to cut taxes for the middle class and raise social spending. Considering Poland has a large budget deficit as it is, these programs could not be enacted. My best guess is that they’d meet in the middle and keep things roughly as they are now, with some tweaking around the margins – but that is just an educated guess. On foreign policy you’d see a strengthening of Polish-American ties, somewhat greater hostility to Russia. And while the PO is Europhilic, it is also strongly neo-liberal. That combined with the knee jerk Europhobia of the PiS would make a POPiS government hostile to any attempts to create a more `social’ EU.
As Marek notes, the PiS is playing a stronger hand by having won both the presidency and the largest bloc of seats in the Sejm.