Polish-American Advocacy Initiative: U.S. Officials Must Not Interfere in Polish Elections

Jun 25, 2010, 13:42 ET from Polish-American Advocacy Group

WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The planned visit to Poland by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials immediately before the final round of Poland's Presidential elections can only be seen as a blatant attempt to influence the outcome of this election.  This visit must be postponed until after the new Polish president is elected.

Secretary of State Clinton and others are ostensibly bound for Poland to participate in a meeting of the Community of Democracies on July 3.  This meeting will take place one day before the final vote in a close presidential election in which the Polish people will choose a successor to President Lech Kaczynski, who, along with nearly 100 other top Polish leaders, was tragically killed in an airplane crash near Smolensk, Russia, on April 10.  In the first round of voting, only five percent separated the two remaining candidates, Acting President Bronislaw Komomorski and former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The Community of Democracies meeting is hosted by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.  Both Sikorski and Komorowski belong to the same party.  Sikorski has been actively campaigning for Komrowski.  In fact, Komorowski will be a featured speaker at the Community of Democracies meeting.

By Polish law, all campaigning must end one day before Election Day (i.e. pre-election silence, "cisza wyborcza").  The Secretary of State's visit will focus news coverage on Komorowski and the Community of Democracies meeting, therefore enabling Komorowski to de facto continue his campaign despite the ban.

The United States of America has an established policy of non-interference in democratic elections to support specific candidates or parties.  Rather, both Democratic and Republic administrations have consistently advocated the general fairness of the electoral process and a level playing field for all candidates.  

We call upon the Secretary of State and other U.S. officials to continue this longstanding bipartisan policy of non-interference.  U.S. officials must not allow themselves to be pulled into internal Polish politics.  Such a grave error would only undercut America's friendship with Poland and court the wrath of Polish American voters in the U.S.  

Poland is a mature democracy.  It is up to the Polish people, not U.S. officials, to choose the next Polish president.  

SOURCE Polish-American Advocacy Group