Dark Side of Independent Candidates

Bernardo Bellotto: Krakowskie Przedmieście od strony Bramy Krakowskiej // Public domain

Residents are indifferent to any scandals, forgiving the authorities for anything to prevent “the other party” from ruling the city. In such an environment, a candidate from the other side will not stand a chance.

They are full of energy and smiling, wearing a scarf instead of a suit and tightly tied ties. With beautiful slogans on their lips, they present themselves as independent candidates. They argue how much they are disgusted by national politics and openly declare war on its representatives “in the name of the residents.” Only upon closer inspection can we see how many elements of their attire and style are just a cover under which the old system hides, and the beautiful scarf flutters because it is deftly swayed by the puppeteer – an old party leader.

Although we swear that we hate changes, we often secretly await them. Routine becomes boring over time, from which it is simply comfortable for us to escape. In such a situation, residents of many cities find themselves, where local leaders have rooted themselves in every aspect of city life, especially in municipal companies. Any changes in these bodies are fiction, carried out for marketing purposes and to create the illusion of “freshness”. This illusion, in some places, reaches a completely different level – by nominating an “independent” candidate for president.

Many cities in Poland are engulfed in the war between PO (Civic Platform) and PiS (Law and Justice Party). One side firmly holds the entire city, while the other plays the role of total opposition. Consequently, every election becomes a total war between two factions. However, its outcome rarely surprises us.

Both Civic Platform and PiS have their strongholds in Poland. Cities conquered long ago, where every candidate of theirs wins elections effortlessly. Residents are indifferent to any scandals, forgiving the authorities anything just to prevent “the other party” from ruling the city. In such an environment, a candidate from the other side will not stand a chance.

Thus, independent candidates are born, namely the first kind of them. Smuggled under the guise of independence are candidates from a party that has such a large negative electorate that it cannot break through the concrete wall. Instead of banging their heads against it, they throw their “independent” candidate in a Trojan horse.

Nevertheless, there is an even worse kind of independent candidate. These are candidates who are from the major political parties. This independence is, however, much worse in reality, because nobody is truly independent. We simply do not know who such a person is dependent on. In such a situation, hidden players come into the game, playing political chess at our expense. Owners of large factories and enterprises not necessarily liked in the city, throw tons of money at the person who is supposed to be “finally the people’s candidate.”

In this way, these big people with their interests and huge financial means to achieve them find what they have been lacking so far – the support of the people. These people, manipulated by lies about a beautiful new reality free from old connections and nepotism, go to the elections enthusiastically to finally choose the solution to all their problems. The real problem only appears on the horizon when this wonderful independent candidate signs a contract to build a new factory, garbage incinerator, or other unwanted large plant after winning the election.

In the upcoming local elections, I am running for the City Council in my city, so it is easiest for me to write about such phenomena using local examples. In Inowroclaw, some see these elections as an opportunity for a political turning point and change of power.

For this reason, four “independent” individuals have submitted their candidacy for the presidential elections. One of them, representing Law and Justice, has served on various councils for several terms, and two weeks served as president by decree of the Law and Justice governor.

The second independent candidate was vice-president for several years and even sat on the boards of municipal companies. Today, beautiful signatures “Let’s not do politics. Let’s create the city” are displayed on her banners. The leader of her City Council list in my district is the Council Chairman, famous for his ability to ensure everything, even in a convoluted and very absurd way, seems possible. Another presidential candidate had been running his election campaign since August, six months before the formal campaign began, spending significant sums of money, which are rather large for the owner of a driving school with several vehicles.

It may happen that an independent candidate will truly be a candidate of the people, without any quiet support from local magnates. With such candidates, I advise checking and verifying their one skill thoroughly – effectiveness. Will an independent candidate who had to attempt registration three times just to finally obtain a resolution to accept the registration be an effective president? Will they be able to conduct the tough and complicated city policy, requiring thorough familiarization with specialized documentation when they cannot register election lists quickly and effectively, and their proxy is their wife?

Such a candidate simply lacks a structure of people adequately prepared to perform public functions in the city. A real team of people ready to take over power in the city, not only with the benefit of inventory but with a whole box of challenges facing not only the new leader but also his team. Because no one rules independently.

In the upcoming elections, I wish every reader to vote for people they know. Often we live next to each other and share concerns and problems. We know who and how deals with them. We know who truly knows our needs because these needs are their own. We know they come from our city and will genuinely care for it, if not for us, then for themselves and their families. I wish you such candidates dear readers.

Written by Jakub Andrzej Luber

The article was originally published in Polish at: https://liberte.pl/ciemna-strona-kandydatow-niezaleznych/

Translated by Natalia Banaś

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