Warsaw local elections to cement national position of far-right Law and Justice Party

Warsaw local elections to cement national position of far-right Law and Justice Party

Local elections begin today in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The ruling local government is expected to face defeat from

The Town Hall and headquarter of the mayor of Warsaw is seen in Warsaw

Photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Local elections begin today in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The ruling local government is expected to face defeat from the far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS).

The election is symbolic of a larger political debate in Poland over the direction of the country. Despite being a major proponent of the EU upon its accession, it has drifted from Brussels in recent years as a result of controversial judicial and media reforms that have bolstered far-right political influence. Warsaw is the last remaining part of the country that is governed by the centre-left opposition Nowoczesna party. PiS support has surged with candidate Patryk Jaki eliminating his opponent’s lead in the latest polls. For the opposition, the loss of Warsaw is both symbolic and substantive, due to its status as a liberal region and for PiS to extend its influence in potential reforms to electoral processes.

Victory for the PiS would see it solidify public support ahead of general elections next year, vindicating in its increasingly tense standoff with the EU. A defeat by the opposition, which seems likely, would signal a resounding defeat for centre-left politics in Eastern Europe’s largest economy and leave little obstacles to continued political tensions with the EU and Western Europe.

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