WARSAW, Poland – A rock star who sang in a band called Breasts and an economist seeking to invigorate Poland's economy lead new forces entering parliament following general elections — bringing a dash of color as well as new ideas amid a sharp turn to the right.
The main story of the election has been the triumph of the conservative Law and Justice party over the ruling Civic Platform, giving it a majority of 235 seats in the 460-member parliament. But Poles' hunger for change showed in other ways: An anti-establishment group headed by right-wing rocker Pawel Kukiz won 42 seats, while a new pro-development party launched by a respected economist won 28 seats. Both parties are entering parliament for the first time.
Pawel Kukiz, the 52-year-old former frontman for Breasts, attracted people disillusioned with the way the country has been run in its 26 years of democracy. His program "Let's give Poland back to the people" calls for rewriting the constitution to hand control to citizens, and decries cronyism between politicians and big business. Among its radical proposals is abolishing personal income tax and scrapping tax exemptions for foreign companies. The party is against Poland joining the euro.
"I guarantee you, another two years and this system will be done with," Kukiz told a party rally on Sunday.
Among Kukiz's lawmakers are a tattooed rapper known as Pocket Knife, and a 74-year-old former leader of a radical anti-communist group. Another is a successful brewer who recently prompted some bars to dump his beer after he made an anti-gay remark.
The other significant new force in parliament is the Modern party, founded by economist Ryszard Petru. After leaving the World Bank, he became chief economist for one of Poland's leading bank. He is now a lawmaker representing Warsaw.
"In line with our motto, we will be changing Poland into a country that you can love, but also one where you want to live," he said Sunday. It was a clear reference to the millions of young people leaving Poland in search of dream jobs and better living standards.
Petru's followers tend to be young, professional business people, at home with social media and the Internet. The party wants to stimulate the economy, cut corporate tax and develop new technologies with the use of European Union funds. It also calls for a national program for teaching English.
President Andrzej Duda, who is backed by Law and Justice, is still to announce the date of the first session of parliament.