Thursday, July 21, 2011

15 Angry Men

The jury on whether political billboards and TV ads are a crime (our take here and here) came back with a verdict. I have no idea whether the discussion followed the 12 Angry Men" scenario, but nevertheless the ruling handed down by the 15 Constitutional Tribunal judges had the ring of Solomon's judgement to it since it was effectively a choice between the will of the senior ruling Civic Platform (PO and the opposition Law and Justice (PiS).

The court ruling banned the ban on billboard and TV ads, proving it has more common sense and a better connection with reality than the jokers in the governing coalition that passed it in the first place.

The Tribunal also ruled that two-day elections will be impossible unless Poland's constitution is changed. On less controversial issues attacked by the PiS, the court overruled PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski's concerns and thus allowed for proxy voting and a "first past the post" election system for the Senate.

All in all, the rulings give the victory to Jaroslaw Kaczynski and PiS. This is not only because of all the reasons we have mentioned here in more detail and which focus on PiS being better campaigners than the senior ruling and polling front-runner PO as well as the lower the turnout the better PiS generally does. But it also allows PiS to say they were proven right against all the naysayers, which they consider the corrupt media, the cynical PO, etc.

No wonder Prime Minister Donald Tusk was in a sour mood in his reactions. The PM said something along the lines that "he doesn't agree with the ruling, but everyone with bigger or smaller enthusiasm will have to obey the verdict." Jeeez, so nice of him to notice that court rulings have to be carried out.

Looking towards the October election, despite the verdict, the outlook seems unchanged. Given the Civic Platform's dominance in current polls, unless they are completely bogus, it will be the first party to win two consecutive parliamentary elections in Poland since the fall of communism.

PiS is destined to be the runner-up twice in a row and no court verdict is going to change that. But the court gave back the tools to Kaczynski's camp to run an effective campaign that might in the end decide if and what kind of coalition will be formed. No more hopes of smooth sailing for the PO. This one is going to be bloody, just like we like it.

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