Government candidate spreads hatred before local elections in Poland

Patryk Jaki, the governing party's candidate for mayor of Warsaw during last week's local elections, launched a last minute campaign video in which he presents refugees as a serious threat to the city -- which he alone is able to defend. 

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Government candidate spreads hatred before local elections in Poland - NewsMavens
Patryk Jaki. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Scaremongering about refugees is not new in Poland under the Law and Justice Party. It is present not only in the speeches of politicians but also in the public materials of state institutions now controlled by PiS. The line is always similar: our country is under threat of a refugee invasion and those -- inevitably Muslim -- invading hordes will create chaos, rape local women and bring war into our lands. 

Before the local elections on Sunday October 22, Jaki released a video in a desperate attempt to catch up with the leading candidate -- Rafal Trzaskowski, representing the main liberal opposition party Civic Platform. 

But the video is particularly disturbing in the gross strokes of how it sends its message. This is not subtle scaremongering. Refugees are clearly presented as a violent mob set to destroy Warsaw. 

The only positive element in the whole story is the response to Jaki's video: many have reported it as hate speech on social media channels; people protested at the location of one of Jaki's last meeting with voters, and finally Jaki was defeated by Trzaskowski in the first round of voting. 

Details from the story:

  • Its its latest election spot, PiS shows a hypothetical Warsaw in the year 2020 when the city is run by opposition party Civic Platform and hordes of refugees have made it so that 'aggression and sexual attacks' are a daily reality. 
  • PiS then sends its main electoral message: on Oct. 21, choose a 'safe local government'. 
  • The video was not only criticized by opponents of PiS, but also by some conservative and Catholic journalists. 
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