Commentary Election season is open!

PiS throws down the gaunlet

The new policies presented by Law and Justice (PiS) during their convention, such as an extended child benefit program and combating public transport exclusion are a double-challenge towards the opposition. Michał Kolanko explains how PiS is setting the stage for the upcoming elections.

First of all, PiS wants to turn the election campaign for the European Parliament (EP) into a clash of “parliamentary” programs. The opposition in the form of the European Coalition (EC) will try to change the EP campaign into a clash over “Polexit.” This is the first challenge thrown towards Grzegorz Schetyna [Civic Platform chairman] and other opposition leaders.

PiS addressed the aspirational message of its convention to everyone. This was evident in PM Mateusz Morawiecki’s speech, who asked “to whom will Poland belong to?" He claimed that European wages ought to be for everyone. 

PiS also claimed that only under their government will Poles be able to catch up with the rest of Europe, while maintaining the message about the credibility of their election promises from 2015 in the background. 

PiS wants to turn the election campaign for the European Parliament into a clash of “parliamentary” programs. The opposition in the form of the European Coalition will try to change the EP campaign into a clash over “Polexit”

The opposition has two challenges: one concerning the campaign and the other is the strategy to fight PiS’s postulates. The fight against public transport exclusion of cities is one of the main postulates of the EC parties, but it will be hard for them to criticize the PiS child benefit extension program which they themselves have offered. 

Meanwhile, PiS is counting on tackling the opposition into a discussion of postulates and programs, which would reveal internal divisions in their ranks. Furthermore, credibility is also another advantage PiS has: 59 percent of Poles claimed in a survey that PiS fulfills election promises, compared to the same survey carried out in 2011 for PO (17 percent), at a similar point during their rule. 

PiS’s convention is the start of a dual-campaign on the scale of that of Andrzej Duda’s in 2015. This campaign will be much harder for PiS but one thing is certain: the ball is in the opposition’s court.

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