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POLAND: PiS' election season proposals

On Saturday, the ruling PiS party held its convention. Jarosław Kaczyński announced the introduction of a series of new programmes and reforms, which will form the bulk of campaign promises. Top PiS leader hope that these will propel the party to victory, similar to the promise of the 500+ programme in the previous campaign. Most notably, Kaczyński announced:

  • Financial support for the rejuvenation of local public transport – between municipalities – laws facilitating this support are expected this Spring;
  • Pension Plus – a new programme providing a 13th pension amounting to PLN 1100 – laws are to be passed by the end of May;
  • An amendment to the Family 500+ programme, providing for a pay-out for the first child in a family – the amendment is likely to be introduced in the summer;
  • Lowering the costs of labour – introducing higher tax exemptions and cancelling the personal income tax requirement for persons under 26 – expected by mid-September.

PiS is focusing its campaign programme on continuity. Rather than separating promises between European Parliament and general elections, PiS has proposed an agenda of continuous reforms which will last until autumn. Though they fail to provide clear insight of the party’s plans for the upcoming 4 years after the election season, they are certainly designed to maintain both the core electorate and those voters which were convinced by programmes such as 500+. It will be hard for the opposition parties to compete with these proposals. Firstly, the opposition parties have united for the EP elections, however it is not clear whether this coalition will last for the general elections. Secondly, the opposition has had to focus its efforts on forming a strong coalition, rather than building a competitive programme. Consequently, the opposition will try to undermine PiS’s proposals arguing that they cost too much – but this narrative has already failed in the previous campaign.