Poland. The year marked a political course change in
Poland, when the conservative and nationalist opposition
conquered both the presidential post and government power
from the right-wing liberals.
At the May presidential election, the opposition party
won the Law and Justice candidate, the lawyer and EU
parliamentarian Andrzej Duda, surprisingly the first round
of elections just before incumbent President Bronisław
Komorowski. Many voters wanted a change, and in the second
round Duda won with 51.6% over Komorowski's 48.5%. Only more
than half of those entitled to vote participated in the
COUNTRYAAH, 43-year-old Andrzej Duda was described as an EU critic
but also as a harsh critic of the Russian Federation. He had
previously been an adviser to President Lech Kaczyński, who
died in a 2010 plane crash.
In June, Parliament Speaker Radosław Sikorski resigned
because of compromising audio recordings that went public
the year before. Three ministers also left their posts. The
ruling Citizens' Platform wanted to remove the scandal from
the campaign ahead of this autumn's parliamentary elections.
When Andrzej Duda was installed as president, he said
that Poland wants to see increased NATO presence in the
region. He also explained that the country does not want to
receive any refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Instead, Duda expected Poland to take many refugees from the
war-affected Ukraine. However, the government agreed to
receive 2,000 refugees that the EU is to redistribute from
Greece and Italy.
In the electoral movement before the parliamentary
elections in October, there was harsh refugee rhetoric from
the Law and Justice. Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński warned,
among other things, that refugees spread infectious diseases
such as cholera and dysentery.
The ruling Liberal Conservative Citizens' Platform lacked
in its electoral movement its former leader and prime
minister, Donald Tusk, who has become the EU's permanent
chairman. After eight years in power, the party seemed to
have lost the support of the people, especially from the
Poles who did not take part in the strong macroeconomic
The election therefore became a major victory for Law and
Justice, which effectively used social media in the election
campaign and surprisingly managed to get its own majority in
Parliament with 235 out of 460 seats. The Citizens' Platform
lost almost a third of its mandate and stayed on 138. At the
same time, two new parties joined Parliament, rock singer
Paweł Kukiz's populist party Kukiz'15 and the market-liberal
Moderna. The United Left ended up outside Parliament.
It was not Kaczyński, the party leader, who came to lead
the Law and Justice government, but Vice Party leader Beata
Szydło. She was approved in Parliament in November. New
Foreign Minister became Witold Waszczykowski, and new
Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, a controversial
politician who, among other things, claimed a conspiracy
between the Russian Federation and former Prime Minister
Tusk behind the 2010 plane crash, when, among others,
President Lech Kaczyński perished.
President Duda said after the parliamentary elections
that Poland opposes a new climate agreement that reduces the
use of coal. He emphasized that such an agreement would mean
poorer economy and increased social costs for Poland, which
receives about 90% of its electricity from coal-fired power
The outgoing government had agreed to receive at least
10,000 of the refugees the EU wanted to redistribute. But
after the terrorist attack in Paris in November,
representatives of the new government said that Poland could
not accept refugees from the Middle East unless they were
guaranteed that there were no terrorists among them.
Poland's relations with the Russian Federation
deteriorated during the year. After it became clear that the
Russian Federation had plans to station Iskander short-range
robots in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, the Polish
government decided to have a 50-meter high surveillance
tower built along the border between Poland and Kaliningrad.
In September, Poland protested against the Russian
ambassador, who claimed that Poland was an accomplice to the
outbreak of World War II. The ambassador then lamented how
he expressed himself. The Russian Federation, for its part,
protested that a Soviet statue and Soviet war graves had
been vandalized in Poland.