The alliance between rock musician Paweł Kukiz with his band of followers and the agrarian-rooted Polish People’s Party (PSL) launched its campaign on Saturday.
The PSL and their allies from Kukiz‘15 launched their Parliamentary election campaign in the provincial town of Płock in central Poland. Speaking at the launch the PSL leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz positioned the Polish Coalition he has set up as being neither “anti-PiS” (ruling party), nor “anti-opposition”. In other words, keeping an equal distance to both the left and right and staying in the centre. His partner in the venture, Mr Kukiz, openly declared that their alliance wanted to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament.
The PSL leader accepted that there were doubts about his strategy when he said that “we are going down a winding road, but it is our own”. That was an allusion to the criticism of the exotic alliance between the straight-laced PSL and the anti-establishment rockman Paweł Kukiz. Mr Kosiniak-Kamysz assured the audience that he was not entering an auction in populism.
He accentuated PSL’s long-held policies on green energy and pensions free of income tax. Mr Kukiz preferred to emphasise his policies such as single member constituencies for MPs and binding referenda. He complimented the PSL for the role it had played between the wars when it had fought for land reform and the education rights of rural communities.
The PSL projecting itself as middle of the road is in line with where it has always been. However for Mr Kukiz this is new. His image has been rather of a radical of the right with his anti-establishment views and libertarian economic views.
Mr Kukiz has secured several good places on the slates of candidates for his followers. The problem they will have is that they will depend on the PSL machine to get them elected. A machine which will have its own ideas as to who to push forward in the campaign.
It is not improbable that Mr Kukiz will find that very few of his colleagues make it into Parliament. If the PSL list as a whole makes it on the back of Mr Kukiz’s backing it will be the PSL which will have been the main beneficiary.
However, it remains to be seen if the PSL can keep all of its traditional voters as a result of its alliance with Kukiz‘15. His radical past maybe a no-go area for some.