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The beer party, the prank is over

(Archives B2 – in Warsaw) In the gray atmosphere of the Polish electoral campaign which saw 64 lists with often microscopic differences clash, the party of friends of beer stood out, with its freshness and its humor. Even today, it marks its difference but on a completely different register, that of bankruptcy.

Born in December 1990 as a joke among actors on the go, the party of friends of beer has become, over the months and the polls, a serious force – between 3 and 5% of the votes – with which we will have to reckon in this future puzzle that will be the Polish parliament tomorrow. The Polish episcopate even conferred its letters of nobility, strongly recommending to the Poles to… “ don't vote" for this party.

Discuss serious matters over a beer

Bringing together “average Poles” on the one hand, engineers, journalists, theater actors… and on the other hand, businessmen, the Friends of Beer Party (Polskiej Partii Przyjaciół Piwa) has one main demand: to be able to discuss things serious, calmly, without arguments over… a beer! This political color also has the advantage, according to its members: “ be able to diplomatically answer the ritual question – what is your opinion? – by one – I really like beer – ».

From the party of good people to the party of success

At the beginning of July, an electoral committee led by Piotr Kaczorowski was set up, and a first substantive appeal launched. A group of “biznesman” was formed under the leadership of CZ, director of an electronics company. He even promised “ money as long as it takes ". Agreement concluded… An initial allocation of 2 million zlotys (1 million FF) was thus provided in exchange for a presence on the lists. And ten commandments titled for “ how to drink beer » were enacted. The party program was, however, somewhat modified, to make it more “aggressive”. The party of brave people then became the “party of success”. And certain very specific demands appeared, such as lower taxes for businesses or the expansion of small farms... The party's convivial philosophy began to be undermined, within the party itself.

From the promotion of liberal ideas to small commerce

It was only the beginning... During the first TV spots, the “biznesman” took advantage of the windfall – the minute of TV advertising costing 150 million zlotys – to promote their small business rather than their ideas. During the election campaign, we could see a brave salesman explaining the details of his excellent range of Ford cars, or a brewer praising his pub where good beer flows. Intoxicated by their success, the 'biznesman' even went so far as to refuse to allow two of the candidates to appear on the small screen. They " were too pretty to be true ". They thought they were just “models”!

The mood turns sour

The beer mug was starting to be full. The “friendly” climate became frankly sour between the two components of the party. Especially since not all the 'biznesman' had paid their dues to the party. Only 700 million zlotys (350.000 F) were returned to the coffers. Barely enough to pay for a few election posters. As a result, a few days before the elections, the headquarters of the Friends of Beer party – located in the heart of Praga, one of the poorest districts of Warsaw – looked more like a construction site than the headquarters of future deputies. The employees were no longer paid, the telephone only worked in reception, and the owner gave one week to empty the premises. Each began to accuse the other of manipulation. And an imbroglio worthy of the best boulevard play took place in the very presence of the press.

The party breaks up in the middle of a press conference

During a press conference intended to dismantle the manipulation of the biznesman, the delegate of the electoral committee Kaczorowski confirmed the withdrawal of the candidacy of the “biznesman” CZ who had resigned several times. Furious, the latter, aided by the president of the party, the comedian and television series actor, Janusz Rewiński, denounced at the same time the holding of this press conference without his presence, the mismanagement of Kaczorowski and announced the filing of a complaint to the prosecutor as the appointment of two new managers. The latter two, unhappy with this poisoned gift given without consulting them, immediately resigned.

An inevitable fight

Vice-president Adam Halber and several candidates then took the offensive again, denouncing this manipulation and providing their support to Kaczorowski. For Adam Halber, journalist at Pan (*), “ this argument was inevitable. Because as in any marriage of convenience, there was a contradiction to resolve. Personally, I would have preferred that the abscess burst after the elections. » And nevertheless keeping a touch of humor, “ we tried to lower the temperature with the beer but it didn't work. » The proportions of hops and barley must not have been the right ones...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheude)

article published in La Truffle, November 1991

Updated: the party obtained in the legislative elections of November 27, 1991, 3,27% of the votes and 16 deputies entered the Diet. Adam Halber died in Warsaw on 25th February 2015

(*): Monsieur, equivalent of the French Lui.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).