IN A NUTSHELL 8/2019-20

LAW AND JUSTICE WIN SECOND TERM, LOSE CONTROL IN SENATE

The biggest surprise of the parliamentary elections held in Poland on Sunday, October 13 was the turnout: almost 62% of people decided to vote. What is some countries could count as bad result is the best turnover in any elections in Poland for many years. Other results were quite precisely predicted by polls held before the election day: Law and Justice won second term in power with 43.59% of votes (235 seats in the Sejm) and Civic Coalition remained the second force with 27.4% (134 seats). The lower chamber will also have representatives of The Left 12.56% of votes (49 seats), Polish Coalition – 8.55% (30 seats) and Confederation – 6.81% (11 seats). This means Law and Justice will continue independent rule, without the need to form any coalition. However, the situation changed in the Senate (upper chaber) where PiS won most seats (48), yet lost control of the chamber. Other parties present in the Senate will be Civic Coalition (43 seats), Polish Coaltion (3 seats) and The Left (2 seats). The Senate will also have 4 independent senators.

TOKARCZUK WINS NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan – goes the Polish saying beautifully commenting the congratulations that a writer described by many as controversial receives from all sides of political scene after she was awarded the Nobel prize in literature. Olga Tokarczuk receives her prize in an unusual year when two Nobel prizes in literature were awarded – one to Tokarczuk for 2018 and one to Peter Handke, an Austrian playwright, for 2019. This is because last year a sexual-abuse scandal had been revealed shortly before the ceremony and the award was not given. Winning a Nobel prize means international respect and as such is a reward in itself, but winners also $907,000, a medal and a diploma. The Swedish Academy writes Tokarczuk got the prize for ”narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boudaries as a form of life”. Her most important books include ”Flights” and ”The Books of Jacob”. Now she joins a club of four other Polish laureates in literature: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. It must feel noble to have your name on such a list.

ITALY REDUCES NUMBER OF MPS AND SENATORS

One of the key promises of the Five Star Movement, a populist (BBC) coalition member of the Italian Parliament, has recently been fulfilled. In order to improve the decision-making process and cut costs they wanted to reduce the number of Members of Parliament and the Senate. They evidently managed to convince their colleagues because the voting result was 533 votes for and just 14 against. According to Money.pl, after the lower house agreed now a national referendum must take place in which the people will have a chance to choose if fewer MPs and senators should decide about the future of the country. If the people support the idea as well the number of MPs will fall from 630 to 400 and the number of senators from 315 to 200. That is a cut by one third. Authors of the project hope this will help to save between EUR 285 and 500 million in one term. In Poland overall number of representatives is even smaller – 460 MPs and 100 senators – but Italy’s population is 60 million.

THE UNITED STATES PULL THEIR TROOPS OUT OF SYRIA

On October 6, 2019 Donald Trump told the Turkish president Recep Erdoğan over the phone that he was going to withdraw the US army from northern Syria. At that time, there were still around 1000 American soldiers stationed in the north of the country. They have been there since the beginning of the Syrian civil war (2011), during which an internationally recognized terrorist group called ISIS took over large parts of the land. Almost immediately after the phone conversation ended a tragic sequence of events started. On October 15 the Turkish army continued its move into northern Syria where they are targeting the Kurds. On that same day the Russia-backed Syrian regime started its move towards the border with Turkey, which they say just wants to expand its territory and take land from Syria. Turkey always referred to Kurds as terrorists and the Syrian regime always wanted to reclaim as much of their land as possible. The problem is the Kurds are an ethnic group living in the region and a long-time ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS. In this light the manner and speed in which the situation develops is worrying for every US-ally in the world.

Source: cnn.com, a CNN10 material from October 15, 2019 on the withdrawal of the US troops from northern Syria.

DISCUSSION:

  1. It is good when one party controls both the Sejm and the Senate.
  2. Everybody should read works of Nobel laureattes.
  3. Number of MPs should be as small as possible.
  4. United States should stop sending its army to different countries.
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