In between rounds of the Polish presidential election, we take a backward glance at a turning point in the country’s modern history.
Aleksander Smolar, Transitions Online
Still mourning the deaths of President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other prominent Poles in the Smolensk air crash, Polish voters may be relieved that the contest between Kaczynski’s brother Jaroslav and Bronislaw Komorowski is being conducted without much of the rancor and arguments over history that have marked most other presidential elections since 1989.
Lech Kaczynski’s predecessor, Aleksander Kwasniewski, came to office in 1995 burdened by his communist past, yet managed to stay in office for two terms. Shortly after Kwasniewski’s 1995 victory over Lech Walesa, a prominent Polish political scientist described the fragile state of politics and society at that crucial junction in the country’s young post-communist history. Originally titled “Kwasniewski’s Legitimacy Deficit,” this article first appeared in Transition on 22 March 1996.
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