Polish presidential candidate vows better ties with Russia
Feb. 14, 2015
OZAROW MAZOWIECKI, Poland (AP) — The presidential candidate for Poland's main left-wing party on Saturday criticized what she called the Polish government's antagonistic attitude to Russia, saying she would be willing to speak directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Magdalena Ogorek told a convention of the Democratic Left Alliance that Poland cannot afford to continue being described as "enemy No. 1" in the Russian media.
Poland's center-right government, which includes communist-era dissidents, has been one of Europe's most vocal critics of Putin's actions in Ukraine.
Ogorek said her party, the successor to the Cold War-era Communist party, condemns Russian actions in Ukraine but wants Warsaw and Moscow to communicate.
"I would not be afraid to answer messages from Vladimir Putin and I would pick up the receiver to call (him)," Ogorek said. "Russia is and will remain our neighbor."
Ogorek, 35, and several other candidates face an uphill battle in their attempt to unseat the popular incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, in the May 10 presidential vote. Ogorek has the support of only around 5 percent of voters, and critics say her youth and lack of political experience make her an unconvincing candidate.
Ogorek has a doctorate in history, has worked in public administration and has had minor roles in films and TV soap operas. An attempt to win a parliament seat in 2011 failed.
After her speech Saturday, Ogorek once again refused to take questions from reporters. That has sparked some criticism — and a lack of knowledge about her views has allowed some Poles to focus on things like her striking good looks and the fact that her last name means "cucumber" in Polish.