Early elections a possibility says Kaczynski

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s governing Law and Justice party, has said he has not ruled out early elections.

Poland is due to go to the polls in 2023 but in an interview for the Sieci weekly, Kaczynski, often regarded as the most powerful politician in Poland, said the poll "could be held earlier".

Kaczynski said the government was facing an "exceptionally difficult year", with problems ranging from the Covid pandemic and rising inflation to the migrant crisis on Poland's border with Belarus.

Despite this, he said he remained confident his party, which dominates the United Right ruling coalition, would remain in office.

"Law and Justice is fully intent on securing another victory, preferably in the 2023 elections," said Kaczynski. "Although it could happen that (the elections - PAP) will be held earlier... We have the pandemic, which is a huge challenge in itself, and for some time now we've had high inflation. The hybrid attacks on the Polish-Belarusian border are continuing, as are Russia's operations against Ukraine and the whole region."

Kaczynski and the government also has to deal with a protracted dispute with Brussels over its overhaul of the Polish judicial system.

A new judicial disciplinary chamber has, in particular, caused friction between Warsaw and Brussels with the European Court of Justice calling for its suspension owing to a lack of political independence.

Kaczynski admitted the chamber "has not fulfilled the hopes placed in it." He stressed, however, that any changes in this respect would be the Polish government's own decision and unconnected with the EU's demands.

On Sunday Zbigniew Ziobro, the Polish justice minister, spoke out against the court’s ruling arguing that it had overstepped its powers in the matter.

Asked if the chamber would be closed, Ziobro said it was possible, but only as part of a broader reform of the Polish justice system.