- Title: Poles divided as ruling nationalists eye election win
- Date: 8th October 2019
- Summary: ELECTION POSTERS OF CANDIDATES FROM LAW AND JUSTICE PARTY VARIOUS OF ELECTION POSTER OF CANDIDATE FOR PRIME MINISTER FROM OPPOSITION CIVIC PLATFORM (PO), MALGORZATA KIDAWA-BLONSKA, AT BUS STOP
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2019 13:46
- Keywords: general election Polish politics Polish political parties Polish elections campaigning
- Location: WARSAW, KALISZ, KATOWICE, RADOM AND WIERUSZOW, POLAND
- City: WARSAW, KALISZ, KATOWICE, RADOM AND WIERUSZOW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA002B08JZ21
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Poles are divided and torn between political parties ahead of Sunday's (October 13) general election, as Poland's nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party hopes to tighten its grip on power.
Opinion polls show PiS beating its main opponent, the Civic Platform (PO) of outgoing EU Council president Donald Tusk, by a double-digit margin, with most surveys putting its support at around 40-44%, versus PO's 21-28%. PiS scored 37.6% in 2015.
Whether it can form a majority government - or increase the number of seats it commands in parliament - will largely depend on the election result of three smaller groupings: the Left, the far-right Confederation and a pairing of rural and anti-establishment parties, PSL/Kukiz'15.
Led by former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, 70, PiS has tapped into anger among poorer voters over their share of economic prosperity since the collapse of communism in 1989, mixing its nationalist rhetoric with vast welfare spending.
In largely Catholic Poland, where gay marriage is illegal, PiS has focused on issues such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, which it calls "LGBT ideology", with Kaczynski addressing it at rallies regularly.
Opposition politicians accuse PiS of a power grab, while economists have said its spending programs expose the economy to too much risk at a time when Poland's main trading partners in Europe are experiencing a slowdown.
Critics say a stronger mandate would also fuel deepening concerns about the protection of sexual and ethnic minorities.
The 2015 migrant crisis helped fan nationalism throughout Europe, and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president offered the PiS government an ally at a time of its increasing isolation within the EU.
Exit polls are due shortly after polls close at 1900 GMT, with preliminary results due on Monday (October 14).
(Production: Jaroslaw Gawlowski, Malgorzata Wojtunik)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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