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Poland’s united opposition breaks up after EU election defeat

Warsaw, Poland – A few days after its electoral defeat, the prospects for Poland’s united opposition are looking dimmer and dimmer.

On Saturday, the Polish People’s Party (PSL) announced it was leaving the broad, pro-EU alliance known as the European Coalition. “We’ve decided to build our own group for the general election”, party leader Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

“We invite everyone who shares our values to join us” he added, before claiming his party’s bad performance in last month’s European elections was due to the fact its conservative voters felt alienated by the European Coalition’s inclusion of leftist groups.

“The move plays into the hands of the ruling Law & Justice Party, which won the European Union ballot with a record 45% support, eating into the Peasants’ traditional rural stronghold”, writes Bloomberg.

The Polish People’s Party (PSL), also known as the Peasants Party, was part of a group of five opposition political movements that joined forces, last February, to form the European Coalition in a bid to challenge the ruling conservative group of Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The so-called European Coalition was centered around main opposition party Civic Platform (PO) and also included the Modern party (Nowoczesna), the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Greens.

“This election, in Poland, will show that you can successfully combat populism, that you can effectively combat those who demolish democracy”, Grzegorz Schetyna, leader of the Civic Platform, said in an interview a few weeks ahead of the European Parliament elections.

But the European Coalition failed to defeat or challenge the dominance of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, coming only second with 38% of the votes well behind PiS’ 45% in the EU elections last month.

The announcement comes only a few days after Robert Biedron, leader of the leftist Wiosna (Spring) party and third biggest political force after the EU elections, announced he would not join the European Coalition and preferred to remain autonomous ahead of this autumn’s crucial national ballot.

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