Although gender equality is popular in Poland and many appear to be in favour of it, SLD politicians should think twice before putting Magdalena Ogórek up as a candidate for the presidential elections.
Presidential elections are to take place in Poland in May 2015 and early in January one of the Polish political parties, Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (SLD, in English: Democratic Left Alliance), announced that their candidate for president is Magdalena Ogórek. According to the leader of the party, Leszek Miller, she is a good choice and a symbol of change on the political scene. “She is not a representative or a leader of any Polish political party, she is an independent candidate”, said Miller after the party conference in January 2015. By some, her candidacy is welcomed optimistically and is considered to be a breath of fresh air needed in Polish politics. However, a growing number of people seem to be developing a negative attitude towards Ogórek, attaching labels to her such as: Miller’s puppet or a naïve girl.
Magdalena Ogórek has a lot of support from SLD. Her candidacy is strongly advocated by Leszek Miller. One of the people to call Ogórek Miller’s puppet was Professor Jan Hartman, a former member of Twój Ruch (Your Movement), a Polish political party founded by Janusz Palikot. The motivation for such claims is the fact that it was Miller who officially recommended Ogórek and that SLD’s politicians are actively preparing Ogórek for the presidential campaign. According to fakt.pl, experienced politicians of SLD are training her in the area of international politics or dealing with journalists during press conferences. In addition, Miller himself is training her in the complexity and rules of interior affairs. Furthermore, rumour has it that Miller is attempting to rule the country through Ogórek if she manages to get the necessary number of votes in the elections.
On the official website of SLD, the biography of Magdalena Ogórek states that so far she has worked for Aleksander Kawaśniewski, the Government Information Centre (when Leszek Miller was the Prime Minister), Grzegorz Napieralski, the Polish National Bank, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration as well as the European Integration Centre. It seems that Ogórek has a lot of experience working in politics and public administration. However, an investigation conducted by journalists of Polityka has revealed that the above claims are far-fetched. Contacting directly each of the places where she is said to have been employed, the journalist found out that Ogórek had free student internships in the mentioned workplaces. In some cases she was in fact employed but she did not hold any public functions. The journalists tried to contact Ogórek as well but so far with no response.
Apart from her professional inexperience, there are also her dreadful ideas for improving life in Polish society. We can familiarize ourselves with them in Ogórek’s manifesto. Generally speaking, young people are a priority for Ogórek because, as she said in her manifesto: “We have led the training system to absurdity. Instead of vocational training (…) there are graduates, frequently with useless diplomas, graduates who does not know how to use tills in supermarkets”. Among other things, Ogórek believes that the situation of young Poles can get better if there is no criminal responsibility for economic offences for entrepreneurs under 25 years old during the first two years of their economic activity. Moreover, she also proposes, for instance: to organize territorial defence composed of citizens and lower taxes enough to prevent illegal employment.
Of course, there are some who stand in favour of the candidacy of Ogórek. Miller expects that Ogórek has a great chance for success in the elections thanks to her educational and professional background. The allegations about her untruthful biography are confronted with claims such as: the allegations are lies purposefully published in order to decrease Ogórek’s chance of success. Miller believes that Ogórek’s chance to win is also increased by her being recognisable.
The way the media are treating Ogórek might seem unfair and unnecessary. However, the fact is that SLD has recommended a candidate who is too incompetent to be the president of the Republic of Poland. Journalists are doing their job in bringing the truth to light and raising the public’s knowledge about the candidates. And the truth is that Magdalena Ogórek is not a suitable candidate for the president as she is Miller’s puppet and lacks professional experience. As a result, the media, not having anything interesting to write about her candidacy, focus on her physical appearance. I think that SLD should admit their failure as far as recommending Ogórek for the presidential elections, because showing support for Ogórek might result in the party’s loss of support. The best solution for SLD, to save their face, would be to withdraw their candidate.