Did the Left party receive much from Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in exchange for supporting the National Recovery Plan (KPO)? I believe that they received quite a lot.
First of all, the Left won a serious victory over the topic of municipal hospitals. During future election campaigns, the Left will be able to claim in almost every municipality that it had achieved additional funds for local hospitals.
Secondly, 75,000 homes will be added to the rental market. The Left has achieved something tangible in housing, a sphere which is producing extreme social pressure mainly due to outrageous price increases and for creating a situation where housing is becoming increasingly unobtainable or costly for many people. What is important here is that the banner of housing policy which PiS raised a few years ago may now be passed on to someone else.
In addition to all of this, there is the increase of funds for companies most affected by the pandemic from 300 million PLN to 500 million and the expansion of the Monitoring Committee which oversees the expenditure of KPO funds.
We are witnessing an impressive display of efficiency from a political group which has been in the opposition for the last 17 years, since 2005. It has made a great argument for itself in its fight to pass the election threshold in 2023 when there might be a clash between the powerful PiS and Hołownia/Civic Platform (PO) blocs which will crush all smaller players.
Of course, by deciding to cooperate with PiS, the Left has risked the ire of the liberal public opinion. Yet this is a price worth paying, also because the neutrality of mainstream media didn’t give the Left anything essential. The people who listen to that kind of media usually support the strongest opposition party because their main goal is to remove PiS from power.
Nevertheless, there is the lingering question of whether the agreement between PiS and the Left means something more for Polish politics. Will the end of April 2021 be remembered as the moment in which the stage of zenith of polarization between PiS and the anti-PiS opposition came to an end?
We cannot exclude the possibility that we are entering a period in which such pointed agreements, completely banal in global politics, will become something more frequent. This would most certainly be good news for Poland.
PiS cannot be destroyed, it cannot be pushed out of Polish politics, and it cannot be effectively surrounded by a sanitary cordon. Above all else, there is no reason to do so. The authoritarian threat, about which the total opposition keeps on shouting, is nothing more than a propaganda mirage.
One more question is worth pondering. Will the Civic Platform, after this whole affair, have the audacity to raise the “Polexit” accusation towards PiS once again? Will the party, which wanted to blow up the European Recovery Plan in the name of narrow political interests, be able to accuse others of wanting to leave the EU without being laughed at?