President Andrzej Duda - via wikimedia
WARSAW - 28 July 2017: The two main liberal opposition parties have together overtaken Poland's eurosceptic ruling coalition in popular support, according to a poll taken after a government move to reform the judiciary was vetoed by the president.
However, a second fresh poll conducted for state-controlled broadcaster TVP Info in mid-week put the coalition on 38 percent and the liberals on 34 percent, if the two parties campaigned separately. TVP Info, whose journalistic standards have drawn criticism, did not provide readings for a combined opposition.
On Monday, President Andrzej Duda vetoed two of three flagship judiciary reforms that had triggered large protests in Poland and European Union warnings of legal action over concerns the move would undermine Polish democracy.
In a Kantar Public poll conducted on Tuesday and released by Rzeczpospolita daily, the liberal Civic Platform and Nowoczesna mustered a combined 35 percent. The three-party coalition led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) was on 32 percent.
The anti-establishment Kukiz'15 party, which backed Duda's veto, drew 13 percent support in the Kantar poll.
Analysts say many Poles want the opposition parties to unite to mount a stronger challenge to PiS in the next general election, scheduled for 2019. To do so, main opposition parties must present a joint list of candidates to parliament.
A PiS-led coalition of nationalist-minded parties won the 2015 parliamentary election with 37.6 percent of the vote.
A Kantar poll conducted before Duda's veto gave the government coalition 32 percent, while a theoretical coalition of Civic Platform, Nowoczesna and former Civic Platform ally PSL, which is backed by farmers, was on 36 percent.
Duda said while he agreed with the government on the need for a revamp of the judiciary, the proposed measures were not in line with the constitution of the eastern EU member state.
The judiciary overhaul, coupled with a drive by PiS to expand its powers in other areas including the media, has provoked a crisis in relations with the executive European Commission in Brussels and sparked one of the biggest political conflicts since Poland overthrew communism in 1989.
Though many Poles view their judiciary as corrupt and dominated by communist-era ways of thinking, others see the PiS-driven reform efforts as a power grab inimical to democracy.