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Poland First, Not Ukraine. Polish Election Campaign Takes a Shift.

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Quoted in the Polish liberal newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, a prominent member of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party expressed a significant shift in the election campaign focus. The statement emphasized that while it would not directly be anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, the party’s priority would be Polish interests over Ukrainian interests.

Though the newspaper did not disclose the source, the change in PiS’s stance towards Ukraine has been evident for some time. Recent events, such as both sides summoning the other country’s ambassador for an “explanation” and strained Polish-Ukrainian relations, have highlighted this shift. A key factor in this dispute is the ongoing disagreement over Ukrainian grain imports, with Poland defending its stance by citing price dumping concerns. This issue is now becoming central to the election campaign, as PiS relies heavily on support from rural areas, which are closely tied to agriculture. The party’s chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, aims to maintain this support and protect farmers’ interests.

Another group of voters that PiS considers at risk is women. The presence of approximately one million refugees, with a significant number being young Ukrainian women, has created competition in various areas, including traditionally female professions and the “marriage market”.

While pre-election polls show Law and Justice leading the liberal Civic Coalition (KO) by a clear margin, its main rival has now become the far-right Confederation for Freedom and Independence (Confederation). This party opposes an overly liberal refugee policy and has managed to attract PiS voters in recent weeks. If the current poll results hold, the Confederation could play a crucial role, holding 14 percent of the vote.

To bolster its popularity, PiS has announced various measures aimed at improving the economic situation for the population, which the opposition criticizes as populist and vote-buying tactics. These measures include a planned 60 percent increase in monthly child allowances, providing free medicines for those over 65, and abolishing tolls on sections of national motorways.

The exact date of the parliamentary elections in Poland is yet to be announced by the president, but they are expected to be held in autumn, no earlier than 15 October, with the deadline for announcement being 14 August.

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