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ADDED ON: 08/28/2019

How will the LGBT issue influence the Polish election?

08/20/2019 | Emerging Europe

The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issue has been one of the main sources of political controversy in Poland over the summer months, and is potentially one of the most important and consequential since the collapse of communism in 1989. Some commentators have accused the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party of trying to use the issue cynically as a pretext to create an atmosphere of moral panic in order to shore up its electoral base among more conservative Poles. They draw analogies with the way that the party opposed the EU’s compulsory migrant relocation scheme in the run-up to the previous 2015 election, when Law and Justice argued that Muslim migrants from the Middle East and North Africa would be difficult to assimilate and threatened Poland’s national security. In fact, although Law and Justice is strongly culturally conservative, it has often been extremely wary of giving moral-cultural issues too high a profile for fear of putting off more centrist, socially liberal voters who might otherwise be attracted by the party’s socio-economic policies. A good example of this is the abortion issue where Law and Justice has proceeded very cautiously, knowing that while the party’s leaders and core supporters favour a near-total ban most of its voters support the (already very restrictive) status quo.

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