Democracy at work

Election campaign over. Most of the votes are counted. And the Civic Platform PO clearly retaining its position as the largest political party in Poland.

I have lived through so many election campaigns myself in Sweden – the first time in 1973, the last in 1994. So I am always following elections wherever I go with extra attention and excitement.

But even more important – an election day is a great day for democracy. Certainly democracy is more than free and fair elections. But without them, no democracy.

In a country like Poland, for so many years deprived of the basic democratic rights including the fundamental right to elect people in power, this is even more evident.

I have followed the election campaign as close as possible. There are of course still some language barriers but also many opportunities to see, discuss, learn and reflect. The visit last week by the Swedish Parliamentary Committee for EU affairs gave several opportunities of that kind.

One main impression is clear – this was quite a “normal” campaign in a very normal North European country. Perhaps you could say that the rapid emergence of the Palikot movement was a surprise. But certainly not unique. Similar things happen in other countries as well – including my own.

One aspect missing was probably the dimension of environment, climate change – in short the green issues. I hope they will play an increasingly important role in Polish society and debate in the years to come. In the next election campaign – but hopefully before that.

Decmocracy is at work every single day in a free country. In media, in Parliament, in local Government,  in civil society organisations, in free academic research. But election day is something special. That is true in all free countries, including Poland October 2011.

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