The Polish Law and Justice party sees an opportunity in the wave of coronavirus infections to further consolidate power.
On October 13, parliamentary election in Poland was held. After the national-conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) defeated the liberal Civic Platform (PO) in 2015, the country was faced with extensive reforms. Not only the socio-economic paradigm changed, from the liberal course to a generous welfare state embodied in newly introduced child allowance, a steady increase of the minimum wage, or lowering retirement age. Radical changes to the judiciary as well as taking control of the public media caused a massive outcry at home and abroad, raising concerns about the state of democracy in Poland. Therefore, this year’s election was labelled the most important ballot since the fall of communism 30 years ago.
On October 13th, a parliamentary election will take place in Poland. After four years of the Law and Justice party (PiS) in government, this is a much-awaited ballot. Most probably, however, the result will not determine whether the current political course will continue—but rather how radical it will be. As of today, there is no serious competition to the PiS in sight.
The 2019 European Parliament election brought a visible decline in the popularity of the
centre-left and relatively good results for all kinds of right-wing populists are unsettling.
Fortunately, this tilt to the right is not significant enough to meaningfully affect the functioning
of the European Union. Looking at the election results in the Visegrád countries (V4), we see
how much they were determined by the dynamics of the domestic political scene.
Next month, EU citizens will again cast their ballots to elect their representatives to the European Parliament. This year’s elections have so far received special attention due to the far-from-normal political circumstances. Over the last few years, rising Euroskepticism has grown and it is clear a lot is at stake in May. It is difficult to precisely predict the outcome, but it is clear that there are some tendencies that can significantly affect the results.
Last Sunday’s election results left some Poles devastated, but others seem to be if not hopeful, then relieved. The massive victory of the conservative Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) defeating Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska – PO) was, however, not a political earthquake, but rather a self-fulfilling prophecy that finally came true. Perhaps it also is a manifestation of a deeper change within Polish society. The question is if this will turn to good account for Poland – and for Europe, too.