The triumph of the conservative, anti-immigration Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland’s elections at the weekend demonstrates how the refugee crisis could play into the hands of anti-European Union parties.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of euroskeptic Law and Justice, whose twin brother Lech famously died in a plane crash while president of Poland, played on the electorate’s fears during the campaign by claiming that refugees were bringing diseases like cholera and dysentery to Europe.
The party won with 39.1 percent of the vote, far ahead of governing Civic Platform, the party of the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, on 23.4 percent.
“I don’t think the party really wants to leave Europe, they just want Poland to be more assertive when it comes to things like Europe’s response to the refugee crisis,” Pawel Swidlicki, a research analyst at Open Europe, told CNBC Monday.
“Kaczynski has made no secret of his admiration for (right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor) Orban and his desire to imitate his policies in the past, although that has waned slightly since Orban moved closer to Putin.”