The final stretch of the Polish campaign leading up to the crucial election has intensified, bringing key issues to the forefront. Just two weeks remain until the election, which will have far-reaching implications for Poland and its role in Europe.
On Sunday (1), opposition leader Donald Tusk organized a rally in central Warsaw that drew hundreds of thousands of people. Tusk, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2014 and later became president of the European Council, called on his supporters to demonstrate their strength and unite against the ruling party. He claimed that victory was within reach, stating that this election is “the last chance to save Polish democracy.”
Tusk’s campaign centers around his concerns about certain EU policies, such as abortion and LGBT rights. He believes that these policies are damaging to Polish democracy and aims to address these issues if elected.
According to The Guardian, Tusk declared at the rally, “A breakthrough moment is coming in the history of our homeland. Let no one among the ruling team have any illusions. Change for the better is inevitable.”
While Tusk’s campaign claims that more than a million people attended the rally, Warsaw police estimates the number at about 100,000, with news channel Onet.pl putting it between 600,000 and 800,000. Regardless of the actual number, Tusk sees the large turnout as a sign of a “great Polish revival.”
On the other side of the political divide, leaders of the ruling PiS party held their own event in the city of Katowice on Sunday. They continued to portray the opposition leaders as “foreign stooges,” using Tusk’s years in Brussels to suggest that he serves German interests. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki even brandished a file that he claimed contained damaging information about Tusk, accusing him of having a “German vision” for Poland’s future.
Tusk’s campaign aims to reclaim patriotism for the opposition, with thousands of attendees at the rally waving red-and-white Polish flags. He believes that a united opposition can mend ties with the European Union, ensuring a modern, tolerant, and European Poland.
The PiS party has been in power since 2015, championing a populist agenda and increasing social spending. However, their rule has led to increasing friction with Brussels, and they have implemented some of Europe’s strictest anti-abortion laws.
Associated Press reports that Tusk told the crowds in Warsaw that “no one can stop this force; this giant has awoken.” His electoral alliance, known as the Civic Coalition, is a few percentage points behind the ruling PiS party in recent surveys. However, Tusk believes that the wider opposition, which includes the Left party and Third Way, can defeat the ruling party and form a government. He even greeted Third Way’s leaders at the start of his march, emphasizing the unity of the opposition.
Supporters at the rally expressed their motivation for participating, telling Polish private news channel TVN24 that they are marching for the sake of their children, grandchildren, women, and LGBTQ+ people. They want a modern, tolerant, and European Poland.
While Tusk’s campaign promises a “modern, tolerant” Poland, critics argue that embracing these ideas will lead to the same chaos seen in Western countries. Concerns include immigration, abortion, LGBT rights, and climate alarmism, among others.
In conclusion, the Polish election is approaching its climax, with both sides rallying their supporters and highlighting the key issues at stake. The result of this election will shape Poland’s future and its position within Europe in the coming years.