Extremist parties 'wiped out' in vote

Polish envoy says previous gov't paid the price for links with radicals.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
October 22, 2007 22:25
1 minute read.
Extremist parties 'wiped out' in vote

poland elections 224 88. (photo credit: AP)

The last Polish government's inclusion of two extremist, anti-Semitic parties in its coalition "wiped the parties out" of Polish politics and contributed to its own downfall, Poland's ambassador to Israel said Monday. "The decision to take these parties into the coalition ruined them forever and wiped them out of Polish politics," Ambassador Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska told Israeli journalists after Sunday's election in her country. "Because they were in the government, the true face of these parties was exposed to the broader public," she said. Poland's pro-EU Civic Platform party beat Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's nationalist conservatives by nearly 10 percentage points, according to near-final results released Monday. The pro-business Civic Platform, led by Donald Tusk, is expected to form a coalition with the small pro-EU Polish Peasants Party, with Kaczynski's party heading for the opposition after leading the country for a tumultuous two years. The two radical anti-EU parties that served in Kaczynski's government - the populist Self-Defense and the right-wing League of Polish Families - failed to make it into Parliament in Sunday's vote, with their support - at under two percent of the vote - falling far below the 5% threshold. Magdziak-Miszewska said that the inclusion of the extremist parties in the former government - which was criticized by the West and Jewish groups - contributed to the fall of the government. The ambassador said that she did not expect any major changes in the growing ties between Poland and Israel, except for the renewal of Israeli contacts with the Polish Education Ministry that have been frozen following the appointment of Roman Giertych, the head of an anti-Semitic Catholic party, as Education Minister last year. A division that deals with the youth exchanges between Israel and Poland worked out of the Polish Prime Minister's Office when Giertych was in office. It would now be transferred back to the Education Ministry, Magdziak-Miszewska said. "The [winning] party is really convinced that there should be good cooperation between the two countries, especially on a people to people level," she said. Polish officials were especially interested in strengthening cooperation between the two nation's military industries, she said, adding, "Sometimes it is easier to sell something saying 'Made in Poland' than 'Made in Israel.'"


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