- Title: Poles divided as ruling nationalists eye election win
- Date: 8th October 2019
- Summary: WARSAW, POLAND (OCTOBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF SEJM BUILDING, LOWER HOUSE OF POLISH PARLIAMENT PEOPLE WALKING BY SIGISMUND'S COLUMN AT WARSAW OLD TOWN PEOPLE WALKING BY IN OLD TOWN (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 66-YEAR-OLD SCULPTOR AND KONFEDERACJA PARTY VOTER, ZBIGNIEW BACHANEK, SAYING: "Either it is right-wing or left-wing, it does not really matter. Poles are now in a situation when the choice is limited because our political scene is shaped in a way that the real opposition (ed's note: such as Konfederacja party), let's call it this way, is not to speak." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PHYSIOTHERAPY STUDENT, KINGA STAGIENKA allowed, SAYING: "I do not have one specific candidate and I won't hide it, I don't have my candidate. Each candidate has something that I like, there is no one party that is ideal, but sometimes you can choose the lesser of the two evils, you know how it is." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 58-YEAR-OLD CAR MECHANIC, ZYGMUNT BYRKA, SAYING: "I am not really supporting PiS (Law and Justice Party), and I have to tell you PO (Civic Platform) is not my favourite either. I would say I am more interested in more extreme parties. I think that it's not good when one loves the church too much. The church should not interfere with politics, the church should be for people and for faith and should stay away from politics." EXTERIOR OF CHURCH POLISH AND VATICAN FLAG FLYING ABOVE CHURCH ENTRANCE CHURCH'S STAINED-GLASS WINDOW PICTURING OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA CROSS ON CHURCH'S ROOF (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) WARSAW RESIDENTS, NAMES NOT GIVEN, SAYING: MAN: "They (ed's note: ruling party) destroyed education, they destroyed the healthcare system, the judiciary system." WOMAN: "They break the constitution law..." MAN: "In an arrogant way..." WOMAN: "It's a nation-within-the-nation, almost like a mafia nation." VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF HIGH COURT (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) 59-YEAR-OLD WARSAW RESIDENT, TOMASZ WROBLEWSKI, SAYING: "I will vote for PiS (Law and Justice). I will vote because I think that the political scene is so torn that the only political option which wants to help the nation is PiS. They are of course not an ideal party, but we do not have an ideal party." SUN SETTING BEHIND CHURCH
- 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: LVA00BB08JZ21
- 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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