Mon, April 12, 2010
World > Europe > Polish President's plane crashed

President's plane crash: A "crash" for Poland

2010-04-11 07:42:04 GMT2010-04-11 15:42:04 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

This TV grab taken on April 10, 2010 shows the crash site of a Tupolev Tu-154 plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski near the Smolensk airport in western Russia. The plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the Smolensk airport Saturday, killing the president and all 132 people on board, said Russian officials. (Xinhua)

WARSAW, April 10 (Xinhua) -- No country is fully prepared for such a tragedy in peaceful time in which its leader and dozens of high-ranking officials die simultaneously.

So when it does happen, the country is exposed to unexpected social and political disturbance, and its people are on pins and needles about future.

On Saturday, Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife died when their chartered plane, en route from Warsaw to Russia's Smolensk, crashed shortly before landing.

Victims also included Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, Central Bank Governor Slawomir Skrzypek, Chief of the National Security Bureau Aleksander Szczygo, among other high-ranking officials.

POLAND'S HUGE LOSS

Most of the dead were to attend events in Russia marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre in Katyn forest of thousands of Polish officers. But they could never make the trip.

The shocking accident sank the whole nation into deep sorrow, as Kaczynski was the first Polish president who died in service.

It is also the most fatal event in which many government officials were killed due to non-battle related cause in the history of Poland.

Local newspapers described it "an unprecedented tragedy" of the nation.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who served in 1990-1995, said the loss of so many elite figures was a misfortune to the country, and a huge loss of the nation.

Walesa's successor Aleksander Kwasniewski, in office till 2005, said the catastrophe would cast far-reaching influence on the social and political development of Poland.

The emergency is feared to result in a leadership vacuum in many of the country's sectors for quite some time and to breed seeds of instability.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who served in 1990-1995, said the loss of so many elite figures was a misfortune to the country, and a huge loss of the nation.

Walesa's successor Aleksander Kwasniewski, in office till 2005, said the catastrophe would cast far-reaching influence on the social and political development of Poland.

The emergency is feared to result in a leadership vacuum in many of the country's sectors for quite some time and to breed seeds of instability.

BREAK BALANCE AMONG PARTIES

The balance of political powers in Poland may also be at risk in the wake of the lethal accident.

The two most influential parties in the Eastern European nation now are the opposition Kaczynski-led Law and Justice Party (PiS), and the ruling Civic Platform (PO), which is headed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

While both camps were hit hard in the leadership by the disaster, the blow for the president's bloc is obviously more deadly.

In the short run, the president's party may live on people's compassion. But the possibility of this compassion winning over the party's long-standing inferiority in opinion polls against the ruling party remains slim.

The baneful impacts of the air crash may turn out to be chronic for the PiS, as well as for the whole political scenario in Poland.

ELECTIONS PLAN DISTURBED

Most political parties were already geared up for a hard battle in the upcoming presidential elections, which were slated for October 2010.

But at least two candidates were no longer able to compete. One was incumbent President Kaczynski, who was expected to announce his plan to seek another term in May.

The other was Jerzy Szmajdzinski, deputy speaker of the Polish parliament and a leader of the Democratic Left Alliance. He was also on the crashed plane.

It is believed that the gutting of leadership would send the two parties at a loss for a while, and upset their original campaign plans to a massive extent.

Under Poland's Constitution, Parliament Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, who has become acting president after the death of Kaczynski, should announce early elections within 14 days; and a vote must be held within another 60 days.

But will a hurry-up election do when the entire Poland is still grieving?

Some analysts are optimistic. According to them, the political system in Poland has basically taken shape, and all political parties have achieved basic stability and maturity over the past two decades after drastic changes took place in Eastern Europe.

The most that Saturday's tragedy can do is changing the name of the next president, while the political structure and system of the country shall be able to refrain from any fundamental change, they said.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
Comment:
(English Only)
 
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

SPECIAL COVERAGE

MOST VIEWED

LATEST VIDEO

PICTURE GALLERY