Poland faces pivotal election
October 3, 2023 - The right-wing Law and Justice and centre-right Civic Platform face a high-stakes election to determine Poland’s stance on the economy, soaring budget deficit, EU relations, and access to abortion.
Donald Tusk, leader of the opposition Civic Platform party and former prime minister, pledged to reunite the country as he seeks to challenge the right-wing ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which leads opinion polls.
Tusk told a crowd in central Warsaw on Sunday, estimated at more than one million people, that the ruling party, led by Jarosław Kaczyński, had used “a whole textbook of hatred” to divide Poles during its eight years in office.
The election on October 15 is significant because the PiS-led coalition is at odds with the EU over Kaczyński’s policies -- politicising the judicial system, turning public media into a party mouthpiece, a near-total ban on abortion, homophobia and anti-immigration stance. Tusk argues that these policies could herald an attempt to leave the EU.
PiS is leading in opinion polls, with 37 per cent intending to vote for the party, compared with 30 per cent for Civic Platform.
The vote also comes as the government, a staunch supporter of Ukraine in its war against Russia, changed tack in a dispute over grain imports, threatening to stop the supply of weapons.