Euro Elections frenzy

The European Parliament elections will take place in just a week. I’m pretty disillusioned with the state of Polish politics at the moment, but I believe the reason it is what it is is that people do not take their responsibility to vote seriously. If everyone took it seriously, things would be quite different…
And so, I’ve decided to start with myself. I’ve been going about my electoral responsibilities in completely the wrong way. I used to think that by casting my vote, I’m choosing who will be in power. But that’s not what democracy is about at all. The way it’s supposed to work is that I’m the one in power and the person I vote for merely represents me. The difference in those two attitudes is significant.
When you vote for who should be in power, you’re giving the power away. You vote and then you’re done. At best you take a vague interest in whether the person you chose is doing a good job or not. That’s so you know who to vote for next time.
When you vote for somebody who represents you, you follow the decisions being made in parliament (or at least those that are important to you) and keep in contact with the person representing you. I don’t mean personal contact necessarily, but obviously you want to know that the issues that are important to you are being taken care of in the way you would do it if you were there.
For democracy to work and I mean really work, that’s how voting should work I think. Everyone needs to make more of an effort to find out about the issues that concern them, form opinions on them and then make sure they have somebody in parliament who can represent these fairly accurately.

And so, I’d really like to encourage people to take some time to think a few things through before these elections :) The most important question, I think, is what kind of EU legislation is most important to you. I’ve asked myself this and for me the answer is:

  • Issues to do with my industry - that is IT. In particular stuff to do with software patents, open source, copyright and freedom on-line.
  • Energy policies. Primarily the ecological aspect of them, but the political aspect is also relatively important to me (should we really be relying heavily on Russian gas?).
  • Genetically modified food, toxic materials and other similar matters. I’d like the EU to have the consumers’ safety at heart.
  • Human Rights. The EU should get more involved in issues like Guantanamo, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the human rights abuses in China.

The issues you’re concerned with are (at least IMO) what should largely decide who you’re going to vote for. And I don’t think one should necessarily vote for somebody popular. Vote for the person, who best represents you. Somebody less familiar might fill your needs better (and it’s likely they’ll make more of an effort to keep in touch with their electorate). This of course means you’ll need to do some research, but thanks to the internet it’s not so difficult :)
To get a quick overview of which parties and candidates you should consider, I recommend for those of you in Poland. Unfortunately, at this point in time many candidates have not filled out the questionnaire. I still found the site quite useful though.
An international site, which is relatively useful is EU Profiler, but this only gives you an idea about how you match against the parties, not the candidates. This is not entirely accurate because candidates in the same party can have vastly different opinions on some issues (as seen on which is why I liked the site so much).
Once you have some idea about which party and/or candidates you’re interested in, a great website to check out is Kandydaci 2009. The questionnaires candidates were asked to fill out (not all of them did of course) are extremely detailed, so you get a great idea not only about what the candidate’s opinions are, but even how much they know about the European Parliament (it is painfully obvious that most candidates do not know much :-/).

And this is where the relatively politically neutral part of the post ends :]
I’m definitely voting for Porozumienie dla Przyszłości - Centrolewica. I’ve done a bit of research on the 10 candidates in Warsaw, so I figured I may as well put it up. Maybe someone else will find it useful.
I’m giving special attention to the two candidates that I think are most interesting ;-P

  1. Dariusz Rosati

  2. Andrzej Wielowieyski

  3. Agnieszka Grzybek

    This is probably who I’m going to end up voting for, I think she’s fab :) Check out her questionnaire on Kandydaci 2009 - it’s one of the most thoroughly filled out ones on the entire website. And she really knows why she wants to be in the European Parliament and what she wants to achieve. I sincerely hope she will make it through! I’m rather worried that she won’t :-/
    When I was investigating candidates, I wrote to a couple of them and tried to get them to fill in the questionnaire on She was the only one who wrote back (though to be fair - Wojciech Ożdżeński filled it in and Robert Drachal gave some reaction on his blog, Krzekotowska was the only one who ignored it).
    Anyway, she wrote that she intends to fill the questionnaire out, but asked for patience as this is a very busy time for her. She also sent me the link to the Kandydaci 2009 website (which I hadn’t known about before).

  4. Krystyna Krzekotowska

  5. Wojciech Ożdżeński

  6. Piotr Guział

  7. Robert Drachal

    He’s my dark horse at the moment. A major reason I’m interested in him is his maths/technical background. He’s a known beast ;) I understand his way of thinking and formulating thoughts.
    But apart from that, I like his program. It’s quite creative and most of the other candidates have been no where near as thorough.

  8. Krystian Legierski

  9. Mariusz Oprządek

  10. Sebastian Kozłowski

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