Ahead of the elections: how strong is the Polish opposition?
Two weeks before Poland’s parliamentary elections around one million people followed opposition leader Donald Tusk’s call to demonstrate for a change of government in Warsaw on Sunday. With the exception of the nationalist Konfederacja all opposition parties want to form a coalition to replace the PiS, which has been in power since 2015. The polls point to a close election result.
The other Poland has awakened
La Stampa is delighted about the huge opposition rally:
“In the crowded streets around the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, a million people gave voice to a different Poland, one that is open to the rights of women, migrants and the LGBTQ+ community. ... Donald Tusk has managed the feat of uniting in a single front all the anti-government forces as well as some of the parties that in less than two weeks will challenge the granite-like might of Jarosław Kaczyński, who has been in power in various functions since 2015, and current Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The ‘No’ to the Poland we know took shape yesterday in an event that seemed more like a celebration than a march.”
Women and small towns are decisive
Rzeczpospolita expects a close outcome:
“Two weeks before the elections the polls confirm that Poland is almost perfectly divided into two halves, and that the success of the governing coalition or the opposition will be decided by a tiny percentage of voters from the undecided group. ... Only if they believe in electoral success will they go to the polls and tip the balance. From this point of view, the march on Sunday makes a lot of sense, but it is even more important to activate the women and the residents of smaller towns. They are the ones who will decide who will govern Poland for the next four years.”
Opposition faces uphill battle against propaganda
Krytyka Polityczna is sceptical:
“Will this mobilisation of the opposition be enough to fight back against the PiS’s meticulously crafted strategy, in which it lowered petrol prices three weeks before the elections and then concluded at the end of September that inflation had fallen to 8.2 percent? Will it succeed in the fight against medicine subsidies [promised by the PiS], the advertising offensive of state-owned companies and the propaganda and manipulation by means of a referendum [to be held on the day of the election on the EU asylum compromise]? ... In the best case scenario, a PiS minority government tolerated by Konfederacja, and consequently new elections, are imminent.”
Election campaign deepening divides
The rifts within Poland threaten to become even more pronounced, warns The Observer:
“With the 15 October election imminent, Poland’s propensity for scrapping with neighbours, friends and enemies alike, appears to be turning inwards. Opinion polls show the country is dangerously split. The tone of the campaign waxes venomous. In the partisan struggle for power, Poland risks pulling itself apart. ...PiS may need help — from the extremist, anti-EU, anti-Ukraine Confederation party — to form a government. That’s driving it further to the right, deepening divisions and spawning more dirty tricks.”