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Polls show support for Poland’s ruling party holding up despite speaker scandal

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Recent polling suggests support for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has not been unduly affected by a recent government scandal involving Sejm speaker Marek Kuchciński. 

Mr Kuchciński announced his resignation on August 8 following the revelation by Polish media that he and his family used government jets for private travel on multiple occasions. He has since publicly apologised and promised to repay the costs. He was replaced the following day by Elżbieta Witek, also a member of PiS.

An IBRIS poll conducted for Rzeczpospolita showed PiS’s support steady at 41.2 per cent, down just 0.5 per cent prior to the scandal.

Analysts have viewed Mr Kuchciński’s resignation as an attempt by PiS to placate moderate voters, demonstrating that they will not tolerate such behaviour from party members. “PiS showed its critics that it listens to them and respects them,” Anna Materska-Sosnowska, a political scientist at Warsaw University told Euractiv. 

Surveys also showed that only 18 per cent of PiS voters saw Mr Kuchciński’s use of flights as ‘very bad’, compared with 91 per cent of opposition Civic Platform voters. 

In the lead up to the October election, it looks increasingly apparent that PiS will dominate, despite mounting controversies with the EU over judiciary reform, and scandals like Mr Kuchciński’s. 

The opposition has struggled to get its message across, despite a number of parties merging into three main opposition forces in an attempt to show unity. The centrist Civic Platform, the largest opposition party, has formed a coalition with the smaller Nowoczesna party, while centre-left Wiosna has merged with two left-wing parties, SLD and Razem. The centre-right Polish Peasants party has coalesced with anti establishment Kukiz ’15. All three groups trailing PiS in the polls. 

Civic Platform/Nowoczesna has 30 per cent support, while the Wiosna, SLD and Razem coalition sits on 12 per cent. The Polish Peasants party and Kukiz ’15 are currently quoted as having just five per cent support. 

The Polish parliamentary election will be held on October 13.