Poland's opposition overtakes governing eurosceptics: poll

WARSAW (Reuters) - Support for Poland’s united liberal opposition Civic Platform (PO) and Nowoczesna rose 5 percentage points to 32 percent, overtaking the ruling nationalist-minded, eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS), a poll published on Friday showed.

Leader of the main opposition party Civic Platform, Schetyna addresses the media at the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland, July 19, 2017. Agencja Gazeta/ Slawomir Kaminski via REUTERS

The support for the governing party has fallen after contested financial rewards for ministers, protests against a further tightening of the abortion law, and a diplomatic spat with Israel and the United States.

Support for PiS fell to 29 percent, down 5 percentage points from the previous month, according to the opinion poll by Kantar Public for It is not the first poll showing falling support for the governing party, but the first one in months showing the opposition’s lead.

The liberal opposition would enjoy 32 percent support if it combined efforts in the election, up 5 percentage points from previous poll, Kantar said.

In the past few months, various polls showed support for PiS rising above 40 percent, helped by robust economic growth, record low unemployment and increased social spending.

The next ballot box test for PiS will occur this year, with a local election scheduled for the autumn. Next year, elections to the European Parliament are due, as well as a national vote. The PiS has a strong parliamentary majority.

But its image has suffered after media and the opposition have revealed that the former PiS government gave itself bonuses worth more than 10 average monthly salaries. The party later said ministers would donate the money to charity.

The change in the lead in the poll also follows an attempt by the conservative PiS and the Roman Catholic Church to ban most abortions in a move that triggered mass protests across the country last moth.

The survey published on Friday also showed support for the anti-establishment Kukiz’15 at 10 percent, while leftist SLD at 7 percent. The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a Holocaust law passed by PiS lawmakers triggered the biggest diplomatic spat with Israel and the United States in the last two decades. The United States is Poland’s key defense ally.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Alison Williams