Opposition leader promises not to raise retirement age
Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party, Civic Platform (PO), has said he will not raise the retirement age.
Tusk made the statement as Poland prepares to hold a general election on October 15.
"This matter is definitely closed," Tusk told reporters in Zgierz, central Poland, on Wednesday. "I have not returned to Polish politics to change the retirement age.
"Let me say this very clearly," he added. "There is no one in Poland now, there is no political party, which plans to raise the retirement age," Tusk said, adding that he had already learnt that "Polish women and men want to work long but they do not want to be forced to do this."
The Polish government led by Tusk raised the retirement age to 67 for both women and men in 2012.
In 2015, when the Law and Justice (PiS) party won the general election, its government defied a growing trend in the West to increase the retirement age, owing to an ageing population, by restoring the retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women.
By doing so, it scrapped the previous government's reform that aimed to gradually raise the retirement age in Poland to 67 for both sexes. PiS continues to maintain that the lower retirement age is one of its policy statements and vows it has no intention to change it.
According to Tusk, every Polish woman and man should work as long as they want.
"Of course, their old-age pension will depend on how long they work but it should be an independent decision taken by the Polish people," Tusk stated.
"If I have any influence on the future governments in Poland, surely no one will take such a possibility into account even for a moment," the PO leader added.