Poland: Kaczyński loses trusted allies in EU election to younger PiS candidates

PiS members are increasingly talking about the need for a generational shift inside the party

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, center, head of the Polish conservative Law and Justice party, speaks to supporters after voting ended in the election to the European Parliament in Warsaw, Poland, on June 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The leader of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party Jarosław Kaczyński is reportedly frustrated that candidates he chose to top PiS’ election list in the regional constituencies in several cases ended up being overtaken by young candidates from lower down the list.

Several PiS candidates who managed to win from down the slate in the European elections are keeping their heads low so as not to attract the ire of the party leader, who is reportedly furious that the people he had chosen to top the slates had in many cases lost out in the election. Kaczyński knows he will now have several of those defeated coming to him to complain about what happened. 

The candidates who won despite not having Kaczynski’s blessing tended to be younger PiS members usually associated with former PiS Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is reported to be interested in either running for president next year or taking over as leader of PiS upon Kaczynski’s retirement. 

Moreover, questions are being asked as to why candidates such as Patryk Jaki, Michał Dworczyk, Piotr Muller, Marlena Maląg, Waldemar Buda, and Tobiasz Bocheński were not leading the slates, as arguably they could have attracted more support for PiS than the chosen list leaders. 

PiS members are increasingly talking about the need for a generational shift inside the party because, as it happens, it was the younger candidates who got the best results in these elections. Even if they did not quite make it, they seemed to give value to the slate that older candidates seemed unable to bring. 

It is also noteworthy that Polish voters are increasingly disinclined to follow the party line and vote for the candidate at the top of the slate. They prefer to shop around and are more open to names further down the party list.

A close ally of Mateusz Morawiecki and spokesman of his government, Piotr Muller, told Interia.pl that voters are indicating that they want PiS to be a broad church and that the party needs to present different faces to be able to satisfy the needs of different groups of voters. 

In past elections, candidates prided themselves on having a photo with their leader and used such photos unashamedly. In the future, they may be less willing to play that endorsement game. 

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