WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poles have begun voting in a parliamentary election that the ruling party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski is favored to win easily, buoyed by the popularity of its social conservatism and generous social spending that have reduced poverty.
Law and Justice is the first party since the fall of communism to break with the austerity of previous governments. Those free-market policies took a moribund communist economy and transformed it into one of Europe’s fastest growing.
However, many Poles were left out in that transformation and inequalities grew, creating grievances that Law and Justice has addressed skillfully.
The party’s liberal critics fear that another four-year term will reverse the historic democratic gains made three decades ago. They cite the party’s erosion of judicial independence, pluralism and minority rights.