"Despite its best efforts to tilt the political playing field in its favor, the Polish ruling camp is still worried about the outcome of upcoming parliamentary elections. It is afraid of the democratic opposition's unity"- New Year's message from Jarosław Kurski, deputy editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza.
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When it comes to elections, rural Poland has a vastly disproportionate influence. Whoever manages to win the hearts and minds of rural voters, will win the race. That's why PiS is already meddling in the electoral law. They want the ballot box to follow every single rural voter. Several thousand additional polling stations are to be established near churches, and although the Polish countryside is usually rather difficult to reach by bus, on election day, authorities will make sure that people are transported to the voting booths. 

It is an election year, and the ruling party is preparing an exceptionally high adjustment for pensioners and will make sure that farmers receive more money from the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund. PiS also wants to control the TV remote. Government propaganda channels will be given priority at the expense of other, independent TV stations, and many rural voters will simply have no other choice.

Yet, despite all these shenanigans, the ruling camp is still worried about the outcome of the parliamentary election.

It is afraid of the democratic opposition's unity, and division is its only hope.

That's why the systemic vilification of Donald Tusk continues unabated as if aiming to repeat the fate of Gabriel Narutowicz [the first president of Poland assassinated only five days after taking office, ed.] or Paweł Adamowicz [liberal-progressive mayor of Gdańsk stabbed to death by a man likely influenced by government’s hateful propaganda, ed.]. 

Kaczyński is already talking about the need to defend the integrity of elections, and suggests that the opposition will try to rig them- even though the entire electoral process is overseen by state institutions controlled by PiS. They are preparing the ground for overturning election results in case the opposition wins. A war is taking place right across our border and the ruling camp will not hesitate to use extraordinary measures just to hold on to power.

What does all of this mean for us, democrats? What else needs to happen before voters understand that the authorities are preparing an election on an uneven playing field, where the referee will certainly not be impartial?

It won't be a fair fight, but it will be a fight for everything.

This fight can only be won by a team of united democratic representatives. They need to win by a landslide to overcome presidential vetoes, to create a reformist government. They need to win big as to leave no doubt about their victory. 

These are my New Year wishes to you all!

The democratic opposition must enter the race for parliament united.


Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Our journalists are on the front lines in 32 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

We decided to make our service available to everyone free of charge in order to provide access to high quality journalism for expats and English speakers interested in Polish affairs.

The access to information should be equal for all.

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    The democratic opposition must enter the race for parliament united - remember this opposition leaders.
    A single opposition list may not work when culture war issues are inflamed by Kaczynski. The Right has been notably successful in the US when the culture war becomes the dominant factor, e.g. in Virginia, Florida and San Francisco, and we can expect the same in Poland. PSL and Holownia are incompatible in this regard with the left wing of KO, and their supporters may just stay home.
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