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Farmers’ protests contributed a lot to Poland’s election result, data suggest

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Farmers’ protests contributed a lot to Poland’s election result, data suggest

Forumul Economic Regional Moldova 2024 – Vatra Dornei, 4–6 iulie

The ongoing protests by farmers in Poland have had an impact on the outcomes of the recent local elections and could potentially influence the results of the upcoming European elections in June, according to politicians and election data.

In Sunday’s local elections in Poland, the PiS (ECR) party emerged victorious in the top regional assemblies, securing 33.7% of the votes, followed closely by Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition (KO, EPP/S&D/Greens) with 31.9%.

However, Tusk’s coalition partners, the Third Way (Renew/EPP) and the New Left (S&D), lagged behind, scoring below 20% and ranking third and fourth, respectively.

Interestingly, Tusk’s alliance managed to secure victories in many major cities, including Warsaw and Gdańsk, where KO’s candidates Rafał Trzaskowski and Aleksandra Dulkiewicz won in the first round.

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According to New Left MEP and former prime minister Marek Belka, PiS’ strong performance in rural areas may have been influenced by the widespread farmers’ protests across the country. Belka explained that these protests drove rural voters to the polls, resulting in PiS’ success in these regions.

This observation is supported by data showing that PiS garnered 43% of the votes in rural areas, while KO obtained only 20% and the Third Road secured only 16%.

The nationwide farmers’ protests in Poland are reminiscent of similar demonstrations in other EU countries, with Polish farmers expressing opposition to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) component of the European Green Deal, which they perceive as overly restrictive and detrimental to Polish agriculture.

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Another regional factor driving the protests is the influx of Ukrainian agrifood products into the Polish market following the liberalization of agricultural trade with Ukraine by Brussels in 2022 under the Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs). This surge in imports led to decreased prices and demand for Polish domestic production, resulting in significant losses for farmers.

The Commission’s decision to extend the ATMs for another year further fueled discontent among Polish farmers. Belka suggested that a different approach by the Commission to the ATMs might have resulted in a different voter attitude.

Data from Ipsos polling agency indicates that over 57% of farmers voted for PiS in the recent elections, making the agriculture sector more supportive of PiS than of the incumbent ruling camp.

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However, it’s worth noting that not all farmers support PiS, with some expressing disappointment over the government’s handling of the Ukrainian imports crisis and abstaining from voting.

Given the EU’s jurisdiction over the Green Deal and the ATMs, and the significant impact of farmers on election results in Poland, the ongoing situation in Polish agriculture could also influence the outcomes of the June European elections.

If the issues related to Ukrainian imports persist, the votes from farmers may bolster PiS’ results and, consequently, the ECR party, aligning with expectations of a rightward shift in the new European Parliament.


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