Can Liberals Change Poland’s Government?

A disjointed liberal coalition will have difficulty undoing the work of its right-wing predecessor.

Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: Recent Polish elections brought a win for the liberal opposition party. The incoming governing coalition ran on undoing the work of the very conservative Law and Justice Party.

  • A win for liberals? While the media have celebrated, Donald Tusk, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, is much less combative than the incumbent government and will be presiding over a politically loose coalition — there is reason to suspect that not much is going to change.

Catch up: The Law and Justice Party (PiS in Polish) has ruled since 2015. At that time, it passed a near-total ban on abortion — seen as a major factor in this year’s elections — and rallied the European Union to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while presiding over a historic period of economic growth.

Why it matters: The PiS government opposed progressive E.U. initiatives on issues such as climate change. The new government will likely reverse this course, giving the union more breathing room.

  • Zoom out: Though the Euroskeptic bloc has now lost Poland, it recently gained Slovakia — meaning not all that much may end up changing in the E.U., which as a whole, has seen a growing right-wing movement.

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