Law and Justice (PiS)

Law and Justice (PiS). Like Civic Platform, PiS emerged from the former Solidarity Electoral Action government.

PiS was formed predominantly around the former Centre Agreement party. Like Centre Agreement, the PiS was led by identical twins, the Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

PiS is one of the most socially conservative mainstream political parties in Europe. It wants to see abortion, already illegal in all but the most exceptional circumstances, further restricted. While Mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczynski refused to allow gay pride parades, though this was later overturned by court order. As recently as 2013 a Law and Justice MP referred to homosexuals as “socially useless”.

PiS are highly nationalistic, taking hard-line positions in negotiations with the EU and generally being willing to indulge in anti-German and anti-Russian rhetoric. The party is not above indulging in anti-Russian conspiracy theories, especially regarding Lech’s death in 2010.

The party is heavily populist, and takes strident anti-corruption and anti-establishment positions. It is radically anti-communist and wants to see the names of all members of the Communist-era secret police revealed to the public and wants to ban them all from public sector work, from being journalists or from management of public companies.

On economics it was initially pro-market, though less so than Civic Platform, but has become increasingly interventionist with time. During the last election it proposed higher taxes on banks, increased taxes on the wealthy, increasing the minimum wage and halting privatisations.

Law and Order’s support is predominantly based in the former Russian ruled East of the country, which is much more rural, much less developed and much more religious.

The party won two successive elections in 2005, with Lech becoming President of Poland and Jaroslaw becoming Prime Minister at the head of a coalition with two minor radical right parties. This fractious coalition lasted only two years before collapsing, and Jaroslaw became leader of the opposition to Tusk. While the party failed to be re-elected it actually increased its support by taking support from its former coalition partners.

The party has recently suffered splits both from its moderate and more nationalistic wings, with 4 MEPs now sitting with Poland Together and 4 now sitting in United Poland. While it polls strongly it suffers from a lack of potential coalition partners when compared to its competitor, Civic Platform.

Law and Justice was a founding member of the European Conservatives and Reformists. Its 2009 group was the second largest member of the party. However, defections have seen Law and Justice’s group more than halved to 7 MEPs. Nonetheless, with the British Conservatives looking likely to lose a significant number of seats, the Czech Civic Democratic Party likely to collapse, PiS has a good chance of being the dominant party in the ECR post-election.

Law and Justice demonstrate average loyalty to their group, with 87.6% loyalty.