WARSAW: The movement of an anti-establishment rock singer, who scored a surprising 20 percent in the Polish presidential vote, topped an opinion poll released Monday, just months ahead of a parliamentary ballot.
If the general election was held today, musician Pawel Kukiz would score 24 percent of the vote, tied with the conservative main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), a survey of 1,100 people by pollster Ibris said.
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s centrist Civic Platform (PO) would come third with 21 percent of the parliamentary vote, which is scheduled for late September or early October.
Political newcomer Kukiz, 52, burst out of nowhere to secure third place in round one of the presidential election last month, appealing in large part to disillusioned voters, especially young Poles having a hard time on the job market.
Kukiz ran on an anti-system message but without a well-defined political program. His one concrete proposal was to replace the current proportional election system with a single-member district system.
He has yet to formally register a political party, but is widely expected to do so in time for the autumn general election.
In a stunning turnaround, PiS candidate Andrzej Duda won the presidential election on promises of generous social benefits. Until just weeks before the vote, incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski, who is allied with the governing PO party, had been expected to easily clinch a second term.
Analysts view the outcome as a sign that the PO has lost traction after eight years in power and that voters in Poland want change — a view reinforced by the Ibris opinion poll.
The EU member and Central European powerhouse has posted consistent economic growth over the years but high long-term unemployment has limited opportunities for young Poles and drained the government’s popularity.
According to the Ibris survey, eight percent of the vote would go to another political movement being set up by liberal economist Ryszard Petru, while neither the agrarian PSL party — the junior coalition partner — nor the SLD social democrats would clear the five-percent threshold to get into parliament.