Polish voters are heading to the polls on Sunday in a parliamentary election widely expected to see the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party — criticised by the European Union for its record on rule of law — comfortably reelected.
Polling stations opened at 07:00 local time.
Pollsters predict PiS will garner even more votes than it did in 2015 when it enticed more than 37% of the electorate which should, once again, allow it to govern alone.
Experts believe an easy victory for PiS will cement Poland’s slide towards conservatism and deepen its rifts with the EU.
Watch the latest report from Euronews’ Poland correspondent, Oliver Whitfield Miocic, in the player above.
The nationalist party has over its first term in power adroitly blended ideological conservatism with progressive measures. It introduced social handouts for every child born, doubled pensions and is now pledging to do the same to the minimum wage for workers.
But it has also talked about tightening already strict abortion laws and railed against migrants and LGBTQ people they say threaten the country’s Christian values.
It has also been sued by the EU Commission over reforms which the bloc say threaten judicial independence and been criticised for its continued support to fossil fuel.
In June, Poland was one of three EU members to veto a bid to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 unless the bloc helped pay for renewable energy alternatives.
Then just two weeks ago, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski opened the country’s first new mine in 25 years.
Still, smaller parties could still prove to be kingmakers with centrist and centre-left parties expected to grow their share of the vote.
Europe Elects, a poll aggregator thus expect the pro-EU Civic Coalition (KO) — composed of the centre-right, liberal and centre-left formations — of coming second, while the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) is predicted to reenter parliament after a scandal brought it down in 2015.