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Party members 'furious' following conservative defeat

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 11.10.2011 07:30
Following yet another election defeat for Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) at Sunday's parliamentary elections, media are reporting sources saying the party could split in two.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Monday; photo - PAP/Andrzej Hrechorowicz

The Rzeczpospolita newspaper quotes an unnamed source within Law and Justice outlining a possible breakaway political faction around two hard-line PiS members of the European Parliament, Zbigniew Ziobro and Jacek Kurski.

“We are losing and people are furious,” the source said.

Law and Justice have lost several elections since being in power from 2005 – 07. The defeat, by 10 percentage points to Civic Platform on Sunday, has angered many of the party faithful who want a change of face at the top.

Replacing Jaroslaw Kaczynski – who founded the party with his late brother Lech – or forming a new political group, are two options under consideration.

Rzeczpospolita claims that a Law and Justice source had indicated to them that 52 MPs are ready to join the new faction, which would be founded in opposition to the leadership of Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Prior to the elections, Ziobro (who served as minister of justice from 2005-2007) and Kurski conspicuously supported parliamentary candidates considered loyal to them, such as Marzena Wrobel in Radom, Filip Ridesinski in Poznan and Mariusz Jedrysek in Wroclaw.

Many observers noted on election night on Sunday that Zbigniew Ziobro was the only prominent member of the party not to attend the rally following the close of polling stations.

Meanwhile, Kurski held a convention – unapproved of by PiS - with Gdansk candidate Krzysztof Steckiewicz. During the convention the PiS logos were conspicuous by their absence.

Law and Justice saw defections during the last parliament, when several party members left the party to form Poland Comes First (PJN), which fashioned itself as a PiS-lite, more moderate party. It received just over 2 percent during Sunday's election.

However, MEP Ryszard Czarnecki said yesterday that “there will be no PiS witch-hunt,” in relation to the post-election analysis that the party is now conducting. (nh/pg)

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