Poland's ruling party loses ground to main opposition: poll

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 16, 2013 9:22 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's ruling Civic Platform (PO) trailed the main opposition party by a record 11 points in a poll published on Friday, as the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk struggles to cope with the country's biggest slowdown in decades.

A poll by TNS Polska for public television showed rightist Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski with the backing of 43 percent of Poles compared to 32 percent support for PO.

Another survey also released on Friday showed backing for the prime minister at a record low 25 percent, with 62 percent unhappy with Tusk's performance. Nearly three quarters of the respondents criticized the government's handling of the economy.

Poland barely escaped its first recession in more than two decades at the start of the year, although economic growth picked up to 0.8 percent in the second quarter, according to preliminary data from the statistics office.

Unemployment, which peaked at 14.4 percent in February, has also been steadily falling in recent months.

Tusk's government, which won an unprecedented second term in 2011, is not scheduled to face another national election until late 2015.

Weak performance in recent opinion polls, however, could make it more reluctant to push through reforms such as deciding the fate of private pension funds.

It has also suffered at the ballot box in local votes. Last month, PO lost an election for mayor of the city of Elblag, near Poland's Baltic Sea coast, that had been one of its strongholds. The party's deputy head, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, may also be headed for a recall election as mayor of Warsaw.

(Reporting by Chris Borowski; Editing by Alison Williams)