Poland’s ruling party makes new promises as election campaign kicks off

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) presented its electoral programme on Saturday at a convention in the eastern city of Lublin, betting again on a pro-social package mixed with Catholic conservatism.

Speaking in front of a large audience in Lublin, party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said the goal of the party, which has been in power since 2015 and whose signature measure has been subsidies for families with children, was to build “a Polish version of the welfare state.”

For PiS, Kaczynski said, family and nation were the most important units. He defined family as “one woman and one man, in a long-lasting relationship, and their children,” alluding to PiS’ overall rejection of the expansion of rights for gay people. He underlined the importance of Catholicism for the Polish society, saying that beyond the Catholic Church, there was only “nihilism”.

Kaczynski criticised its main political rival Civic Platform, the party in power before 2015, for creating a corrupt system of power, adding that PiS reforms, including those in the justice systems, must continue.

The leader promised a dramatic increase of the minimum wage if PiS wins again this fall, saying it would be doubled by 2023, to reach 4,000 zloty (1,000 U.S. dollars).

In addition, he said, pensioners would get two supplementary pensions per year (the 13th and 14th pensions) in 2021 and farmers would get subsidies.

Pensioners, people from the countryside and small towns as well as those without a university education are among the demographic groups that overwhelmingly favor PiS.

So far, PiS’ most popular measure has been a subsidy for families with children, which it promised during the 2015 campaign and has implemented. The new electoral pledge would build on that measure to present PiS as a defender of the common Pole.

Recent opinion polls put PiS at between 41 and 43 percent in voter preferences, with competing political forces scoring much less and only standing a chance if they come together.