- Title: POLAND: POLISH EUROSCEPTICS GAIN IN EU VOTE
- Date: 14th June 2004
- Summary: (W4) WARSAW, POLAND (JUNE 14, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. LV/SLV/SV/CU VIEW OF WARSAW; TRAFFIC; NEWSPAPER KIOSK/NEWSPAPOER HEADLINES (7 SHOTS) 0.38 2. MCU (POLISH) SALESMAN IN THE KIOSK (NAME UNKNOWN) SAYING "I think Poles believe their influence on the European Union affairs is too small. Poland will gain importance in about four years, I think and it is then that we will go and elect representatives." 0.55 3. CU HEADLINES OF NEWSPAPERS 1.00 4. MCU (POLISH) WARSAW RESIDENT, SYLWIA ROZYCKA-KOWAL SAYING "I'm afraid, it's worrying that Liga Polskich Rodzin (League of Polish Families) and Samoobrona (Self Defence) came second and third. It can be a very serious signal before the upcoming elections to the Polish parliament. We should all stop and think if it really pays to rely on such populist parties as the League of Polish Families and Self Defense." 1.29 5. LV OF WARSAW STREET 1.36 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 29th June 2004 13:00
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Reuters ID: LVAES2FC8AS8YER27Z39UHC1XYYW
- Story Text: Polish eurosceptics gain in EU vote, crush left.
Opposition parties crushed the ruling left in
Poland's first European Parliament elections, with
eurosceptic parties scoring surprisingly well in low
turnout, partial results showed on Monday (June 14, 2004).
The result looks set to stiffen the minority
government's resistance to a draft EU constitution at this
week's summit in Brussels as the victorious parties have in
the past criticised it for reducing Poland's clout in the
Rightist and centrist parties rooted in the Solidarity
movement won more than 40 percent of the vote, a key test
before general elections which are expected within months.
Turnout hit a record low 20 percent amid general apathy
across new EU member states from eastern Europe, which
analysts said reflected voter weariness after last year's
referendums on EU membership and their entry into the bloc
six weeks ago.
Many think it also reflected a believe that, as a new
member, Poland had little influence on the EU forum.
"I think Poles believe their influence on the European
Union affairs is too small. Poland will gain importance in
about four years, I think and it is then that we will go
and elect representatives," a newspaper kiosk salesman said.
As elsewhere in the 25-nation bloc, the poll in Poland,
the biggest EU newcomer, turned into a protest vote against
the ruling party, the ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance
Suffering from corruption scandals, high unemployment
and botched reforms, the SLD saw its support slip to nine
percent from 41 percent in general elections in 2001.
The pro-EU centre-right Civic Platform (PO) came first
with 23 percent of the vote, nearly doubling its share. Its
allies -- rightist Law and Justice (PiS) and centre-left
Freedom Union (UW) -- won a combined 19 percent.
General apathy benefited eurosceptics, who used the
vote to exact revenge for badly losing the EU referendum a
The anti-EU, Catholic-right League of Polish Families
came second with nearly 17 percent. Firebrand populist
Andrzej Lepper came third with 12.3 percent. "I'm afraid, it's
worrying that Liga Polskich Rodzin
(League of Polish Families) and Samoobrona (Self Defense)
came second and third. It can be a very serious signal
before the upcoming elections to the Polish parliament. We
should all stop and think if it really pays to rely on such
populist parties as the League of Polish Families and Self
Defense," said Sylwia Rozycka-Kowal a young Warsaw resident.
But the fact that Lepper came only third seen by
analysts as a relatively weak showing, his party topped
opinion polls just two months ago, cheered financial
markets, with investors focusing now on whether the ruling
left manages to scramble out of the defeat.
The SLD confirmed they would go ahead with efforts to
win a parliamentary vote of confidence for their new prime
minister Marek Belka, due later this month.
The party, which can count on the support of a handful
of independents, is some 40 votes short of a majority in
the 460-member lower house.
If Belka loses the vote, President Aleksander
Kwasniewski will call snap general elections in August.
Otherwise they will be held late this year or early in
Belka's chances appeared to get a boost from a poor
showing by fellow leftist Social Democracy of Poland
(SDPL), a key swing group in parliament with 33 deputies.
The SDPL, formed earlier this year by SLD rebels, came
in just short of the five percent threshold and signalled
it may now back Belka in the confidence vote to avoid early
Kwasniewski said the confidence vote could take place
only after the EU summit on June 17-18.
Analysts said the strong eurosceptic showing and
Belka's unconfirmed status put pressure on him to put up a
strong defence of Poland's interests in the constitution
The opposition, including pro-EU centrists, want Belka
to reject the charter in its current form because it
reduces Poland's voting power in the enlarged EU from the
level it was awarded in 2000.
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