Polish nationalism aims to consolidate its dominance after this Sunday’s elections

The Freedom and Justice party, of former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczinski, could reach an absolute majority thanks to a combination of reactionary policies and social spending


The Polish nationalist Freedom and Justice (PiS) party, led by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, aims to consolidate its domination of national politics after legislative elections this Sunday, boosted in an electoral program that repeats the “cocktail” triumphant of Nationalist rhetoric and social spending against, as the former president warned this week, “the radical destruction of the moral and cultural order” pervaded by the “elites” and the attempts of the European Union to impose a reform of its controversial judicial system.

Since the surprising victory of the PiS in the 2015 elections, social tension has increased in Poland as the former Prime Minister has intensified his anti-European speech in response to Brussels' efforts to nullify the first major step he took after his victory: an amendment Legislature declared in December of that year that granted Parliament – under the control of its party – the power to appoint five judges of the Supreme Court, the principle of a series of changes in the composition and operation of the highest judicial body.

Polish nationalism aims to consolidate its dominance after this Sunday’s elections
Polish nationalism aims to consolidate its dominance after this Sunday’s elections

Over the following months, the Polish Government has introduced multiple additional amendments to strengthen its control over the Supreme Court and the judiciary as a whole. These include his decision to withdraw from judges the power to nominate the members of the National Judicial Council, the body that advises nominations, to hand it over to Parliament under their control; the advancement of the forced retirement of Supreme Court magistrates, aged 70 to 65, and the attribution to the Ministry of Justice of a special capacity to punish ordinary judges for the content of their decisions – including raising preliminary questions to the Court of EU justice -.

All these amendments, according to Kazcynski, have been aimed at improving the effectiveness of the courts and removing the remnants of the communist system from the magistracy. Brussels, on the other hand, considers that the former Prime Minister has been jeopardizing the country's judicial independence for four years. To this end, the EU began ordering an investigation into the legality of these measures, which continued with the declaration of a sanction file last year, a step prior to the announcement made this week by the European Commission to bring Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU urgently.


To such an extent Kaczynski exercises his domain that is not ruled out even to lead the Executive again – currently headed by his 'dolphin,' Mateusz Morawiecki – after these elections. The former prime minister is a member of Parliament, but his status as a leader of the PiS and his popularity among a large part of the citizenship remain a key element in the distribution of power in Poland. Kaczynski already managed to become prime minister in mid-2006, at a time when his twin brother, Lech, was in the Presidency.

Under his command and that of Morawiecki, the Polish Government has skilfully dodged the social tension that has surrounded its confrontation with the European Union, resulting in the rise of ultra-right groups that have applauded the former resistance of the former Prime Minister against the influence of Brussels and his reactionary defense against events such as the Pride parade, which he described as “traveling theater” and “a real threat to the Polish State.”

The PiS has made “LGBT ideology” a key issue in its election campaign, claiming that it is an invasive foreign influence that undermines traditional Polish values.

“There are in our country who wants to invade our families, our schools, our nursery schools, our lives, who want to end our culture, with our freedom, with our rights,” Kaczynski said in August during a pre-campaign rally in which he gave unleash his ultraconservative speech with his defense of the archbishop of Krakow, Marek Jedraszewski, who called LGBTQ activism “rainbow plague”, “dangerous ideology” and “anthropological error”

At the same meeting, Kaczynski also took the opportunity to charge against Western countries, where “freedom is being liquidated” and citizens are punished by administrations and courts “for saying what they think,” according to comments collected by the DPA agency.

For all these reasons, Kaczynski's critics fear that a second term of the PiS could “further weaken” basic fundamental rights such as “the independence of judges and the media,” in the opinion of the expert on ultra-right ideology at the University of Georgia. , Cas Mudde, who anticipates freeway “for the entry of corrupt government partners in the institutions and for the elimination of aid funds that support opposition forces,” according to Reuters.


However, the victory seems guaranteed, according to the latest polls. Of the 30 million Poles registered to vote, between 42 and 48 percent are inclined to support the majority formation in the next elections, in which the PiS could achieve 231 of the 460 seats that make up the Parliament.

This backing is due to the left hand exhibited by Kazcynski and Morawiecki. Between the two, they erased the protests against judicial amendments at a stroke thanks to the introduction of an aid program for families with children: 114 euros per month that have appeased the population. During the campaign, the PiS has promised an additional payment to pensioners, new agricultural subsidies, tax exemption for young people and an increase in the minimum wage.

Despite the concern that this rampant increase in social spending has aroused in economists – and it should be said that the Government has not abounded in details about the fulfillment of its promises -, the population seems to have accepted these immediate benefits along with the rhetoric of the former prime minister, one that has led him to strengthen ties with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, under the common flag of nationalism, disdain for climate change and, of course, opposition to the free movement of people.

Thus, the party maintains a broad advantage over the opposition Civic Coalition (KO), which ranges between 26 and 28 percent in intention to vote. This group includes, among other movements, Civic Platform, Nowoczesna and Inicjatywa Polska. Precisely the current vice president of Parliament and candidate of Civic Platform, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, warned last week of the illusion that represented this situation.

“The people of the Titanic were told until the end that the course was perfect, that the construction was stable, that the ship was safe, and we all know how the story ended. Lies, greed and deception eventually sank this ship “, he wrote on his Twitter account.

Urn-foot surveys with the first results will be announced almost immediately after the polls close at 9 pm, and preliminary results will be published on Monday.

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