Is Poland ready for Spring?

Nine months before the parliamentary election, a new political party has emerged -- Spring. Boasting a progressive social policy, it may become the first modern, mainstream left-wing force in the country.

Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko NewsMavens, Poland
Is Poland ready for Spring?  - NewsMavens
Robert Biedron, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Poland has been in desperate need of a genuine leftist party for a long time.

One of the legacies of the communist era has been a lack of trust towards any policy that borders on socialism.

It took the public almost 25 years to open up to left-wing ideas again. First came the Razem party (Together), which, after its launch in 2015, failed to enter the Parliament. Now, Wiosna (eng. Spring) has arrived.

It is led by Robert Biedroń, a well-established name on the country’s political scene. In the past, he was one of the most active MPs and a very popular mayor of the city of Słupsk. He is also the first openly gay Polish politician.

Spring proposes a classically left-wing agenda based on the ideas of economic equality, solidarity with the less privileged and environmentalism. Soon after their spectacular launch on February 3, questions arose about potential ways of financing their political ideas. An obvious and much needed one would be by raising taxes, but in this matter the party remains surprisingly reticent.

Recent opinion polls estimate Spring’s election potential at 15%. However, their impact may be far greater if they manage to shift the language and interest of the political scene to the left. Biedroń wants to introduce to the political mainstream issues which so far have appeared only in street protests.

None of the major political leaders in Poland has ever been this vocal about supporting same-sex marriage and the liberalization of abortion law.  

A few years back, endorsing such progressive ideas would be political suicide. But since then, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in defense of women’s rights, the environment and independent judiciary, while five million watched the movie “Kler”(challenging the omnipotent Polish clergy). Today, Poland seems ready for Spring.

Some of the key points of Spring’s program announced on February 3:

  • Secular state. Spring wants to tax the Church, close down the Ecclesial Fund and stop financing religious classes from the state budget;
  • Abortion on demand until the 12th week of pregnancy;
  • Same-sex marriages;
  • Modern sex education in public schools;
  • Introducing the position of Environmental Ombudsman who would serve as an expert in legislation and would protect the interest of the environment in the courts of law;  
  • 500+ benefit for single mothers and parents of only children;
  • Poland will completely give up coal as an energy source by 2035;
  • 250 thousand new spots in nurseries. At the moment, only 1 in 10 Polish children under the age of 3 has a secured place in a nursery; 
  • Closing the gender pay gap; (Statistically, Polish women earn 18,5% less than men.)
  • Raising the wages of school teachers;
  • Holding the current PiS government accountable for undermining the rule of law and democratic institutions.

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NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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