Update: Please read about the important referendum on joining European Union & Polish-American relations .
Polish presidential elections will take place in the beginning of October and Aleksander Kwasniewski, an incumbent president and ex-communist is leading with a large margin according to polls.
If Polish presidential elections would take place today, the winner will be obvious. Aleksander Kwasniewski, the present Polish President (since 1995) will receive according to all polls over 60% votes that means that he would easy have an easy win in the first round. Elections will take place soon, October 8, 2000 and nothing indicates any drastic changes.
Basic rules of presidency in Poland are the following. A candidate must be a Polish citizen and have all voting rights. He must be at least 35 years old. Until 14 August a candidate was supposed to submit 1000 signatures of Polish citizens supporting him and until 24 August 100,000 signatures. The candidate also needs to prove that he never collaborated with communistic special services. 13 candidates from 21 passed through the second stage of election process (they were able to collect 100,000 signatures).
Let me start with the most popular candidate Aleksander Kwasniewski. Kwasniewski comes from Polish Communist Party, he was a minister of sport. He was elected a president 5 years ago for the first time. Kwasniewski won his popularity by his non-confrontational approach, his attempts to unite all Poles in spite of their beliefs and modern pro-European politics. Additionally since his ex-communistic party never formed a government he was never criticized or charged responsible for unpopular economic or political moves of different governments in that time.
he biggest rival of Kwasniewski is Andrzej Olechowski (12 % of support), a black horse of this election. He is an independent candidate, a politician with Ph.D. in economy a former foreign and finances minister. He is officially not supported by any political party although unofficially he is popular among supporters of Freedom Union (Partia Wolnosci). Freedom Party does not have its candidate in this elections. He is also popular among businessmen. Olechowski's political views are moderate and pro-European.
The next in row with 7 % of support is Marian Krzaklewski. Krzaklewski, Solidarity Union leader is a present chief of conglomerate created by several parties called briefly AWS, (Eng." Solidarity Electoral Action "). This forum besides ex-communistic party is the most popular political group in Poland. The main disadvantage of Krzaklewski is a fact that AWS forms a government now and this government is criticized commonly by its incompetence.
Jaroslaw Kalinowski a leader of Polish Peasant Party and Andrzej Leppert a leader of the radical farmers' trade union Samoobrona (Self-defence) are supported by 5% and 2% respectively. Andrzej Leppert was recently arrested for regularly failing to appear in court. His party organized blockage of roads in Poland.
Lech Walesa, the ex-president, Nobel Peace Award winner and legendary Solidarity Union leader has only 1 % of support. All the other candidates among them Jan Olszewski, Jan Lopuszanski, Janusz Korwin-Mikke - leaders of right wing parties and Piotr Ikonowicz, leader of socialistic party do not receive more than 1 % of support.
It is sad that during the 5 years of presidency of an ex-communist Kwasniewski, no any new important personality able to compete with him emerged on the Polish political arena.
We were talking about difficult Polish history and politics. Here is one of the books that I recommend for the beginners to become familiar with Polish history. This overview of Polish history was written by Adam Zamoyski and it is entitled: The Polish Way: A Thousand-Year History of the Poles and Their Culture