Europe

Poland presidential election - your views

On the eve of Poland's presidential election, Polish readers of the BBC News website have been talking about the issues that will decide their vote. The election was called after the death of president Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in Russia on 10 April.

Simon Majka, 25, Lodz

The plane crash has affected this election campaign - but not in an emotional way. Instead, it has become even more boring than usual.

None of the presidential candidates have found enough courage to mention any burning issue. Anyone who tried to do that would have instantly been seen as someone trying to destroy the supposed harmony on the political scene.

As a result, the public knows little about the candidates' political agenda. Poles will be voting on Sunday, but for parties, not for candidates.

The most important election issue for me would usually be the economy. I'm a recent graduate and I'm currently a part-time worker in a consulting company. I've found it hard to find any interesting jobs in Poland, so I'm going to study in France in September.

However in the case of this election, as the president has little to say on this matter, the most crucial issue will be foreign policy. The perfect candidate should have a clear opinion about our relations with Russia, USA, Germany.

I'd like the candidates to say whether they want to play an active role in making foreign policy, or whether they intend to leave it to the government.

In previous elections, this issue was barely touched on. And then for five years we had constant arguments between the prime minister and the late President Kaczynski as to who is to represent the country, and so on.

Marta Zieba, Warsaw

As a Polish student, I cannot find any candidate fully worthy of my vote.

But I will vote for anyone who is capable of stopping the tragedy of Jaroslaw Kaczynski being in power yet again.

I find it terrifying how many otherwise rationally-thinking people are falling for Kaczynski's "image change" scam. The tragedy that occurred in his personal life should in no way overshadow the fact that he remains the militantly anti-European politician.

Just two years ago he made a failed attempt at ruling by rooting out suspected "enemies of the people" of the so-called "uklad" [system]. This amounted to nearly all people holding views opposed to his own. I cannot believe just how many people have forgotten how blinded by his desire for power he is.

Economy worries

I have just completed my first year studying a degree in politics in London, but Warsaw remains my home city.

I am very concerned about the need for economic reform, welfare and employment opportunities. I am very worried about Poland's position in international diplomacy. Will we be able to to seek future cooperation rather than return to past animosities?

And having spent a year in London, it is an issue that affects me directly in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Tomasz Szajnicki, 31, Zielona Gora

I hope that the winner of the presidential election will be... Poland.

After the presidential plane crash in Russia, Polish politics seems to be quite different. There is more reflection, more peaceful discussion and strong pressure to cooperate in the name of Poland.

I hope that the next president will preserve such a great atmosphere in Polish politics.

I am 31 years old. I work as an IT specialist and the greatest passion in my life is my family - my wife and my two-year-old daughter.

The most important issue facing Poland now is the need take advantage of this mutual understanding and act in unity to boost the economy.

No matter who wins the presidential election, I hope that the new president will act in the best possible way to the advantage of both Poland and the EU.

I am proud to be Polish but I am also proud to be a citizen of the European Union.

Stefan, Strasbourg

I was shocked and moved by the tragic death of President Lech Kaczynski and his party members in Russia two months ago, in circumstances which have not yet been properly explained.

But my vote will solely be based on what I consider to be the best interests of Poland and her people. I will not swayed by emotions.

I will be voting for Jaroslaw Kaczynski because he is the only candidate who is clearly ready to stand up for the national interest of my country in the European Union and in relations with our eastern neighbours.

This is clearly demonstrated by the position he takes on the shale gas extraction; the Common Agricultural Policy; the timing for the adoption of the euro; the US military presence in Europe; and the importance he attaches to building bridges to smaller European countries.

His support for "social cohesion" will guarantee that more ordinary Poles, and not only the urban elite, will benefit from the transformation of the last 20 years.

I am hopeful that there will be no need for a second round of voting.

Ewa Nowak, 29, Krakow

This will be the first time I've voted. Until now I haven't wanted to, as I didn't believe my vote would change anything.

But now it's different. This time, I have a chance to give more support to one particular party, although I am not their biggest supporter. I just want to see if they could do more for our country, if they have absolute power. Therefore I am willing to vote.

Unlike many people, I don't think the late Lech Kaczynski's brother Jaroslaw has changed for a second. He is just using "that tragedy" to his own benefit. He knows well how to play on people's emotions. He would make an even worse president than his brother.

'No jobs'

I'm 29 years old and I'm an English teacher. I have no family as I don't think I can afford one.

I spent the last few years in the UK, working as nanny and did some waitressing, while studying English. But last year I came back and I have to say I do regret it now. I mean, you can find a job around here, but it doesn't pay much and in order to save some money I'm living with my parents - thank God it's a big house.

I'm not the only one. Lots of my friends are still living with their parents as they can't afford to be on their own. I think I'm too old to be living with them and it's very trying. I'd say about half the people my age don't have a family of their own.

The government should do more for young people. A lot of graduates can't find any jobs. It's a big problem in here - that's why they are likely to go away looking for one.

Only in Warsaw can you earn decent money and be on your own. Everywhere else, it's not enough. I live just outside Krakow and wages are not good enough. The rent is expensive - all my wages would be taken up paying for that. Clothes are very expensive! But food is cheaper and the internet is cheap as well.

Previous governments couldn't do much about it, as their reforms would have been blocked by the president from the rival party. I think the president's greatest power is the power of veto. And the late President Kaczynski used it quite often.

Maryna Jarzabek, London

I have been living in London for over six years now and I'm a project manager in an international bank.

The tragic plane crash in Katyn only brought the presidential elections forward and it didn't affect my choice.

I'm going to vote for a person who will represent the best interests of Poland whatever his political background. I will vote for the person who will responsibly represent my country in the international arena and will support the government, yet will objectively keep the government accountable for its actions.

I hope that the person I am going to vote for, if elected president, will carefully and thoughtfully use the presidential power of veto and will not use it for the political benefit of his party.

To be perfectly honest, I believe I am going to vote for anybody who represents the opposite of the late President Kaczynski.

I am afraid Jaroslaw Kaczynski would not only continue politics of his twin brother, he would also be much more destructive and counterproductive. So I'm going to take part in the elections, to make sure I do my part to change things.

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