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Half a million people demonstrate in Warsaw against Poland’s ruling party – POLITICO

Around 500,000 people marched through downtown Warsaw on Sunday afternoon in a large rally against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, organized to mark the 34th anniversary of the decisive election that took place. effectively ended communist rule in Poland.

The march was called by Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister and former president of the European Council, who now leads his Civic Platform (PO) party in a bid to defeat the PiS in an election due later this year.

“You’re all here because you just believed we can win,” Tusk told the crowd, which filled Warsaw’s Castle Square. People in the crowd waved white and red flags and anti-government signs, including the locally famous ones with eight asterisks, standing for Polish for “f*** PiS”.

“Here is my promise today: we will win this election and hold the PiS accountable,” Tusk said.

The rally, which appeared to be the biggest political demonstration in Poland in decades, came just days after friendly PiS President Andrzej Duda approved controversial legislation creating a special commission to investigate Russian influence on the Polish security. The commission will have sweeping powers, including the power to slap anyone making political decisions in the grip of Russia with a 10-year ban on holding public office.

The Polish opposition said the sanctions proposed by the special committee could be used to keep Tusk out of politics under false allegations.

Following criticism in Poland, as well as in the United States and the EU, Duda has since moved to water down the commission’s powers. This would, however, require another vote in parliament.

Poland is gearing up for what is expected to be a close election this fall. According to POLITICO’s poll of polls, Tusk’s civic platform is currently trailing the PiS. But the ruling party does not have enough support to guarantee him a majority in the next parliament.

The PiS’s position in the polls has weakened in 2023 in the wake of double-digit inflation and an economic slowdown. Both are expected to subside later this year, perhaps giving the ruling party breathing room to outplay the opposition and secure an unprecedented third consecutive term.


For more survey data from across Europe, visit POLICY Survey of surveys.


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