Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Politics in Krakow, Poland

Hello CC friends!

Scooter encouraging everyone
to have a great trip!
Taken from:
            Before we embark on our tour across Central/Eastern Europe, I was thinking that it might be helpful to understand the politics of current governments in the region. Considering how many people on this trip have been studying the history of the countries to be visited and the history of the holocaust, I will try to focus on how governments were structured after the revolutions from communism in 1989. At the fall of communism many communist leaders kept their current positions. Running under a new name, communist political parties still maintain some control and positions within government. For those who may not know, the far left of the political spectrum are those that want government to control the economy and everyday life (communist) and the far right of the political spectrum are those that want government to not have control over the economy and basic everyday life decisions.

Image of Revolutions of 1989
Taken from:
            In particular, Poland, the country that began the revolutions of 1989, is one of the Central European countries that has majority support on the right side of the political spectrum. But even in a country where a large majority opposes a communist government, the government is still occupied by some far-left (communist) officials. Krakow, the second largest city in Poland and one that we will be visiting, has formed a unique type of government. Overwhelmingly, Polish voters vote for the right side of the political spectrum but when it comes to electing the mayor of the city of Krakow, the voters have always voted in a left-wing candidate.

          Image of Krakow taken from:

            The structure of the government in Krakow is somewhat similar to how the United States' government is laid out. There are 16 providences in Poland and each providence is broken down to a county and then a commune level. You can relate this system to the United States if the providence is viewed as a state government (the Missouri legislature), the county government in Poland is just like the county government within U.S. states (Boone country), and the commune government of Krakow can be related to the municipal governments in the States (Government of Columbia Missouri). A fundamental difference between the U.S. and Poland is the way political parties come into power.

Image of Krakow's mayors headquarters
Taken from:

            In the United States, only one party will when seats within a given district. In other words, the United States uses a single-member district plurality to decide which governmental party controls the government; the party with the most votes will control the government. Krakow on the other had uses a system based on proportional representation. This means that the government will be controlled by a multitude of parties instead of just one. If a party receives 5 percent or more votes in a district, they will have some positions within the government. This makes it very difficult for government to function smoothly because one party rarely wins with a majority of votes.

            Political parties are forced to integrate with other parties to form a majority, sometimes resulting in the collapse of government. The major disagreement between the left and right side of the political spectrum is government involvement in the economy. Since the fall of communism, businesses in Poland have been transferred from the control of the government to the control of private citizens. This transfer has resulted in growing inequality but also a growing GDP. During communism everybody had a job and access to the essentials of life but when communism failed, people were no longer provided a place to work and many citizens became unemployed. Democracy, by some, is blamed for the inequality and the hard times that followed the transfer to democracy is a major reason communist officials still retain seats in government.


0 Responses

Post a Comment

Subscribe to our feed