The Polish president’s office confirmed on Tuesday (6 August) that the country will hold its parliamentary election on 13 October, which most pollsters expect the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to win thanks to generous social spending and robust economic growth.
Poland’s national-conservative ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) came narrowly ahead of the centrist European Coalition in last May’s European Parliament vote seen as a test before the parliamentary elections later this autumn.
Since coming to power in 2015, the government has faced European Commission criticism over reforms to the country’s judiciary as well as migration policy. Poland was also one of the few countries that opposed the 2050 target for EU’s climate neutrality.
These battles, critics say, could intensify if PiS wins again.
The European Coalition, a then newly established pro-European bloc comprising the Civic Platform (PO), formerly led by European Council President Donald Tusk, and a group of leftist and rural parties, had been designed to take on the ruling PiS party.
However, it collapsed following defeat in the EU elections, burying plans to use a similar model on the national stage.
PiS leading the polls
According to recent polls, PiS is leading the polls among voters. A survey last week by pollster IBRIS showed that PiS would attract 41.7% of votes, versus 25% for the main opposition group Civic Coalition and 10.2% for the liberal and leftist movement.
Results of the CBOS survey regarding the moods among voters of individual parties show that conservative PiS voters and Kukiz’15 supporters, the populist political movement in Poland led by punk rock musician turned politician Paweł Kukiz, are the most satisfied with the situation in the country.
In turn, the worst mood prevails among the voters of the opposition parties PO, PSL and Spring. As for the general public, the mood prevailing in it is the best since 1996, according to the polling institute.
As Polish parties across the spectrum are bracing themselves for an intense election campaign, the debate is likely to centre around LGBT rights, a hot issue in the devoutly Catholic nation of 38 million, and social benefits as well as air pollution and energy.
Date set for autumn elections
“The president has just signed an appropriate ordinance regarding the election to be held on 13 October,” Błażej Spychalski, a spokesman for Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, said during a broadcasted announcement, confirming Duda’s initial proposal last week regarding the election date.
According to the Polish constitution, parliamentary elections are ordered by the president no later than 90 days before the expiry of four years from the start of the term of office of the Sejm and Senate.
The election date is set as a non-working day within 30 days of the expiry of four years from the start of the term of office of both houses of parliament.
The date proposed by the president has already been approved by the National Electoral Commission and the election campaign will start formally after the president’s order has been published in the government’s Official Journal.
“I’m not going to hide that I would like this campaign to be as short as possible,” Duda said in an interview with Polsat television, adding that he believes that “Polish citizens also want political disputes – which during an election campaign are something natural, but people do not like such disputes – are resolved as soon as possible.”
[Edited by Beatriz Rios]