People in Poland are voting in a parliamentary election that the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) is favoured to win, buoyed by the popularity of its social conservatism and generous social spending that have reduced poverty.
In office since 2015 and led by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the right-wing populist party has sought to mobilise poorer rural voters by coupling family values with a popular new child allowance, tax breaks for low-income earners and increasing pensions and minimum wage.
It is the first party since the fall of communism to break with the austerity of previous governments, whose free-market policies took a moribund communist economy and transformed it into one of Europe’s most dynamic.
However, many Poles were left out in that transformation and inequalities grew, creating grievances.
Polls over the past week gave Law and Justice between 40 percent and 45 percent support, and the second-strongest force, the centrist pro-EU Civic Coalition, about 25 percent.
The party is hoping to win a majority of seats on Sunday but possible coalition partners, if it needs any, could include two small parties, the conservative agrarian Polish People’s Party and Confederation, a far-right group that is openly anti-Semitic and depicts gay people as paedophiles.