Aleks Szczerbiak

Who will win the Polish election?

It is almost certain that Law and Justice will emerge from Poland’s parliamentary election this Sunday as the largest grouping, but far from clear if it will retain its overall majority, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. If the governing party secures a second term, it will entrench and push ahead with its reform programme, while any alternative coalition government is likely […]

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Why is Poland’s Law and Justice party still so popular?

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has a lead in the polls ahead of the country’s parliamentary election on 13 October. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that despite intense domestic and international criticism, the party remains popular because it is trusted on the socio-economic issues that voters care most about.

Poland’s parliamentary election on 13 October is likely to be one of […]

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Can Poland’s opposition win this year’s election?

Poland will hold parliamentary elections later this year. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the country’s liberal-centrist opposition retains considerable assets, and the overall balance of support between it and the right-wing governing camp remains evenly balanced. But the opposition has wasted too much time looking inward rather than crafting a convincing programmatic alternative, and it still does not know in […]

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    What did the European elections tell us about Poland’s upcoming parliamentary elections?

What did the European elections tell us about Poland’s upcoming parliamentary elections?

An unexpectedly decisive European Parliament election victory gave Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party a major boost ahead of parliamentary elections later this year, although doubts remain over whether it will retain its majority. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that simply uniting the main anti-government parties in an ideologically diverse electoral alliance was clearly not enough for the opposition, which still […]

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    Have the ‘Kaczyński tapes’ had any impact on Polish politics?

Have the ‘Kaczyński tapes’ had any impact on Polish politics?

Earlier this year, recordings emerged of the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party discussing a lucrative construction project. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that despite the Polish opposition hoping the case might damage the government’s political appeal, Law and Justice retains credibility among its core supporters and the circumstances surrounding the revelations are too complex for them to be […]

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Can Robert Biedroń save the Polish left?

The Polish left-wing politician Robert Biedroń is planning to launch a new political movement in February, ahead of parliamentary elections due to be held later this year. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that as Poland’s most popular and charismatic left-wing politician, Biedroń’s initiative stands a good chance of achieving short-term success. But the grouping’s longer-term prospects are much more questionable, and […]

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Will Law and Justice win this year’s elections in Poland?

Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice, has based its appeal on claiming to offer socio-economic stability and prosperity while downplaying controversial issues to avoid mobilising its opponents. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that ahead of parliamentary elections later this year, the party retains a lead in the polls and is still viewed as more credible than the liberal-centrist opposition on the […]

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How will ‘Polexit’ play out in Polish politics?

The claim by Poland’s liberal-centrist opposition that the country’s Law and Justice government wants to take Poland out of the EU is potentially extremely dangerous for the ruling party. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that to neutralise the opposition’s apparently effective narrative, the Polish government is now trying to defuse its row with the EU institutions while leaving the core of […]

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Who really won Poland’s local elections?

Poland held local elections on 21 October, followed by a second round of voting on 4 November. The elections were billed as a key test for the country’s Law and Justice government. As Aleks Szczerbiak explains, the liberal-centrist opposition mobilised its core supporters in urban areas, winning high profile mayoral races, but Law and Justice won the more politically […]

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Why do Poland’s local elections matter?

Poland is set to hold local elections, with the first round of voting taking place on 21 October, followed by a second round of voting on 4 November. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the elections will be an important test of popularity for Poland’s government and opposition parties. Although the governing Law and Justice party is currently riding high in […]

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    How is the conflict over judicial reforms affecting Polish politics?

How is the conflict over judicial reforms affecting Polish politics?

Controversy surrounding the Polish government’s judicial reform programme has undermined its strategy of pivoting to the centre in the run-up to the country’s next parliamentary and presidential elections. But as Aleks Szczerbiak writes, in spite of misgivings about the reforms, the ruling party is in tune with Poles on the social and economic issues they care most about, and the opposition has so far […]

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    What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

Although Polish rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz’s political grouping is an unstable construct, lacking organisational and programmatic coherence, it remains the Polish government’s only potential coalition partner and could still emerge as king-maker after the country’s next parliamentary election. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that the key to its survival and future success is still Mr Kukiz’s continued credibility as an ‘anti-system’ […]

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What are the prospects for the Polish left?

Poland’s communist successor party has seen its opinion poll ratings increase in recent months. This upturn in support came after the revival of debates about the country’s communist past prompted by government legislation affecting the interests of its core electorate. But as Aleks Szczerbiak writes, the party’s leadership has failed to develop any new ideas or initiatives that can […]

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Are the Polish opposition’s prospects really so hopeless?

Poland’s liberal and centrist opposition has struggled to challenge the country’s Law and Justice government since losing the 2015 Polish election. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the opposition lacks convincing leadership and has failed to offer a credible and attractive alternative to Poles on the issues that they care most about. But the right-wing ruling party will go into local […]

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    The political significance of Poland’s government reshuffle

The political significance of Poland’s government reshuffle

A sweeping reshuffle by Poland’s new prime minister has changed the shape and direction of its government, with a greater emphasis being placed on economic modernisation, political stabilisation and improving EU relations. But as Aleks Szczerbiak writes, this pivot to the technocratic centre risks alienating the ruling party’s core electorate, and is more about packaging the government’s reforms attractively than abandoning […]

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    How will the European Commission triggering Article 7 affect Polish politics?

How will the European Commission triggering Article 7 affect Polish politics?

Last month Poland became the first EU member state to have an Article 7 rule of law procedure launched against it. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that while sanctions appear extremely unlikely, the domestic political impact will depend on whether Poles accept the opposition’s argument that the government is isolating Poland internationally, or the ruling party’s claim that it is defending […]

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How will a Morawiecki premiership change Polish politics?

Mateusz Morawiecki has been appointed the new Polish prime minister, replacing Beata Szydło, but what will his appointment mean for Poland’s relationship with the EU at a time when tensions are rising over the country’s judicial reforms? Aleks Szczerbiak states that by appointing a respected former banker as prime minister, Poland’s ruling party is hoping to re-focus the government’s priorities […]

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    Can Donald Tusk save Poland’s weak and divided opposition? 

Can Donald Tusk save Poland’s weak and divided opposition? 

A scathing Twitter attack on the Polish government has fuelled speculation that European Council President, Donald Tusk, is planning a return to Polish politics to head up the country’s struggling opposition. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that although he remains a dangerous opponent for the ruling party, making a successful comeback would be a long and arduous process, and pinning its […]

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    Explaining the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government

Explaining the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government

Despite coming under heavy criticism from its political opponents for allegedly undermining democracy and the rule of law, the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government remains at record levels. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the government has delivered on its high-profile social spending pledges, strongly opposed the EU’s unpopular migrant relocation scheme, and many Poles feel that it deserves […]

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Should the EU be concerned about a possible ‘Polexit’?

The Polish government has come into conflict with the EU’s institutions on several fronts, notably over judicial reforms and the relocation of refugees during the migration crisis. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that although opponents of the government accuse it of undermining the country’s ties with the EU, its supporters argue that the ruling party is committed to defending national interests […]

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