Tag Archives: PiS

Polandian on Sunday #4

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Pawel is away this week (probably base jumping or something) so it falls to us ignorant foreigners to round up the news. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. Jilted at the divorce court

Marriage is a popular institution in modern Poland, more so than many other European nations where spending large sums of money on a white dress and the opportunity to get drunk with relatives you don’t like is a less attractive prospect than it once was. Marriage is so popular in Poland that sometimes Poles can’t find other Poles who aren’t already busy getting married to somebody else. This is where foreigners come in useful. There are approximately 9,000 marriages between Poles and foreign nationals in Poland each year. According to a recent report in Rzeczpospolita, however, a quarter of these may be fraudulent.

For non-European Union nationals looking to acquire a coveted EU-nation passport one of the easiest ways is to marry into one. Sometimes this is done by tricking the prospective bride (or groom) with promises of undying love, but more commonly it’s done by offering a cash incentive. It’s a scam as old as the hills, but it’s a relatively new problem in Poland. Rent-a-brides can earn between 15 and 20 thousand Polish złoty (3,350-4,500 euros) for an afternoon in the registry office. Polish registrars are powerless to prevent the practice since they cannot refuse to marry a couple. Even if they suspect fraud—say, the groom doesn’t know the bride’s name or keeps kissing the wrong woman—they have no powers to intervene. I have no idea if this is actually true, but otherwise the joke doesn’t work so I’m leaving it in.

My darling… do you take MasterCard?

World-weary cynical types might roll their eyes and wonder what the fuss is all about–she gets ready cash, he gets the passport. The major problem with these arrangements is that, very often, the guy swiftly disappears to go and have fun with his passport in some richer EU country without bothering to go through the rigmarole of divorcing the woman first. The woman remains legally married, and therefore cannot marry again.

2. The end of the North-South divide

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltzed onto the stage at the press conference to announce that “We have the dosh required to build some more metro Warszawski!”. They have saved some money by tendering things like the Northern Bridge and if you add that to what they had left in the bottom of the piggy-bank as well as yet more of that EU lolly, it seems there’s a chance work will soon start on “Metro II – The return of the hole diggers”. This will surely bring joy to the hearts of those Warsaw dwellers who currently fall outside of the very narrow North-South line served by the first metro line.

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Naturally, there’s not enough money to complete the whole of Metro II so for the time being we’re just concentrating on the central section between Daszynskiego on the good side of town and Wileński in bandit country. This means some considerable differences in elevation (consider how much lower Powiśle station will be versus Rondo ONZ station for example) and also crossing the river. Despite, or perhaps because of these difficulties, they think it will be done by 2013.

My guess is that they’re actually hoping this will be a year earlier because the section they are building is, coincidentally, exactly the part needed to get to the new national stadium being built for the 2012 footie championships.

From my perspective, I wish them well as this is exactly the section of metro I need to be able to drag my lazy pupa all the way from Młociny to Rondo ONZ thus leaving a very small amount of actual exercise type walking required at each end!!

3. The Demjanjuk saga rolls on

John Demjanjuk, the 89-year-old Ukranian-born former US citizen accused of being the notorious SS guard known as Ivan the Terrible, is to be deported to Germany. Possibly. Demjanjuk had been living in the United States for 35 years when he was deported to Israel in 1986 to stand trail for war crimes. Convicted on the evidence of Treblinka extermination camp survivors in 1988 he was sentenced to death, and then released when his conviction was overturned on appeal in 1993. Tried again in the United States a deportation order was issued but not carried out since no country would accept him. In April of this year German authorities announced that Demjanjuk would be tried in Germany as an accessory to 29,000 counts of murder. Demjanjuk, who is not a well man, is less than keen to go.

The 1993 Israeli Supreme Court ruling overturning Demjanjuk’s conviction was principally based on doubts over identification. In their written ruling the judges noted “This was the proper course for judges who cannot examine the heart and mind, but have only what their eyes see and read.” They added “The matter is closed-but not complete, the complete truth is not the prerogative of the human judge.”

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GOING UP

Nasza Klasa bullying
– Two eleven-year-olds have been brought before a family court in northern Poland for messing with a fellow pupils’ Nasza Klasa account. The boys are said to have gained access to the account, added “vulgar phrases,” and then changed the password so their victim couldn’t repair the damage. Hey, that’s how I got into Polandian.

GOING DOWN

Gay elephants
– Ninio the elephant, currently residing at Poznan Zoo, has incurred the wrath of conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party deputy Michal Grzes for not being interested in the lady elephants. “We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys ($11 million) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there,” he quipped. According to the PiS deputy, the animal was removed from Warsaw Zoo because it was interested only in other males and was aggressive towards females, hitting them with its handbag (surely trunk – ed.).

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Is it a mole, is it a rat…..?

The circus that is Polish politics has been interesting itself this week in whether they seek a mole, a rat or both.

The Peasant’s Party (PSL) have been talking about finding a mole, although I confess I don’t know why!

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More amusingly, Law and Justice (PiS) politicians are continuing their hunt for the rat who caused outrage when the press quoted the anonymous source saying “It is difficult for the party to find women who look good and have something smart to say.”. Once the traitor is found he/she will be dismissed from the party. My vote is that they are then immediately appointed as the presidential press secretary. Talent like this should not go to waste!

Here’s hoping the rat and the mole were included in our “Hot politicians” contest so we can have the pleasure of ceremonially removing them from the competition or awarding them the “Polandian 2009 award for plain speaking”!

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Is PO working?

I know I sometimes have a lot to say about our friend at PiS, his brother and other people but it’s important to have some balance so today the question is simple – are PO actually doing anything?

PO’s broken promises

Education Minister Katarzyna Hall yesterday admitted that her flagship project to send six-year old children to school will be postponed. This is another election promise, after the health sector reform and the prohibition on hitting children, Civic Platform (PO) has failed to execute as planned. (Dziennik, p. 7)

Pan Tusk & Co have been in power for just over a year now and support for them is still high (not difficult given the alternatives!). They promised various wonderful things before they were elected but are they actually making progress in delivering them?

“We are afraid that it is all about public relations, as has often been the case with the PO government, showing bags under Donald Tusk’s eyes, tired from working on the legislation, and nothing more,” PiS deputy Mariusz Błaszczak told a press conference in September after the legislative offensive had been announced.

Marek Migalski, a political scientist at the University of Silesia, held a similar opinion. He said that the fact that bills were introduced in the Sejm as late as this autumn, rather than at the beginning of the year, showed that PO had not been prepared to keep its promises when it came to power last year and testified to the legislative push’s character as a PR move.

“The first year of PO’s leadership was certainly disappointing, especially for its own electorate,” said Migalski. He added that the party had neither fulfilled its economic promises, nor had it had any significant success in the field of foreign policy.

According to the Business Centre Club (BCC), which claims to be the largest organization of private employers in Poland, the PO-PSL government has so far fully or partially realized just 28 out of 172 draft bills presented by either Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak or PO deputy Janusz Palikot’s “Friendly State” commission. According to the BCC, that’s a 16 percent success rate so far.

“One year of the PO-PSL coalition being in power shows that the government is not, and will probably not be in the future, the bringer of the ‘economic miracle’ which PO promised,” said a special BCC report earlier this month. “It is obviously not true, as its political opponents both inside and outside Parliament claim, that the government has not done anything and is not fulfilling its election promises. But the pace of change, especially in the economy, is too slow,” the report added.[Text from here]

We’re all wise enough to expect at least half of what a politician promises to be a load of old testes but they really do need to make progress on a few issues at least. Any party can survive a year by doing nothing and thereby not upsetting anyone but coming into year two that tactic won’t work anymore. Now they have to actually start delivering things.

Here’s the original list of TO-DO items for Tusk & Co:

Civic Platform’s election promises

1. We will speed up economic prosperity and take advantage of it.
2. We will significantly raise pay in the public sector and increase pensions
and social benefits.
3. We will build a modern network of freeways, expressways,
bridges and bypasses.
4. We will guarantee free access to medical care and abolish
the NFZ (National Health Fund).
5. We will simplify the tax system – we will introduce a flat tax
with a pro-family relief and abolish over 200 administrative fees.
6. We will speed up the construction of stadiums for Euro 2012.
7. We will quickly complete our mission in Iraq.
8. We will encourage Poles who have emigrated to return home
and invest in Poland.
9. We will raise the quality of education and improve access to the internet.
10. We will take up a real fight against corruption.

How many of those can we say are 25% completed (the amount of their term they have already used up)?

I can attest to the fact that the tax regulations changed as I’ve already received my first payment of the year and that was deducted at 18%, so in respect of income tax they have done something. Not a flat rate as promised but better than nothing.

If you enter “Poland withdraw Iraq” into Google you get an amazing array of dates by which this country was going to get out from 2004 through to October 2008. As far as I know it hasn’t happened yet although I do recall hearing something about even more troops being sent to Afghanistan!

Speed up stadiums for 2012….tee hee….we all know how close we came to losing the tournament altogether.

The other points…..?

Is anything good happening on ul. Wiejska?

I predict Pan Tusk & Co have until spring, summer maximum, to really start delivering the goods. As this recession bites further into Poland, as unemployment rises, as more promises are broken and strikes organised (like the healthcare people right now) this country’s attitude towards PO is going to shift quickly from the original excitement and current ambivalence to something altogether more negative and irreversible.

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