The visa scandal that recently broke out in Poland attracted a lot of attention. The fraud was revealed a month before the parliamentary elections. Will 'visa fraud' affect the elections?
The visa scandal that recently broke out in Poland attracted a lot of attention. The fraud was revealed a month before the parliamentary elections, in which the ruling "PiS" party is running and takes first place in the exit polls. Will 'visa fraud' affect the elections?
“Visa fraud” in Poland is gaining momentum. Not only local but also international media write about the illegal method of issuing visas, managed by intermediaries in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Details about the functioning of this program in the ministry are becoming more and more known, as are the conferences of politicians. The opposition criticizes the ruling party for allowing such corruption in the ministry. In turn, Law and Justice politicians are not multilingual. Party spokesman Rafał Bohenek called the fraud a “pseudo-scandal” in which the opposition should play a role.
The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, said that an investigation is currently underway and as far as he knows, "at least some of the information that appears in the media is simply untrue."
"PiS" has a huge problem with the visa scandal and the party itself understands it, says Polish political journalist Tomasz Walczak. This can be evidenced especially by the removal of one of the heroes of the fraud from the electoral rolls. For the election campaign, politicians pretend that there is no scandal - explains Wałchak.
At the same time, a purge is underway in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Minister Zbigniew Rau announced comprehensive inspections and termination of contracts with outsourcing companies that accept visa applications.
According to the Polish journalist, the ruling party does not like the coverage of the scandal because it is inconsistent with the ideas it has been promoting for years.
The fear of "PiS" is understandable, because the visa fraud hits the foundations of this party's propaganda - Poland must be free of immigrants from non-European countries, especially from Muslim countries. PiS, unlike liberal and leftist parties, will not allow them to enter, they said.
As a result, it turned out that "PiS" allowed the mass arrival of migrants in exchange for bribes, emphasizes Valczak. In his opinion, if it weren't for the US intervention, the case would never have been resolved.
When asked whether this fraud would have any impact on the election results, the journalist replied that one should be careful with such assessments. Walczak believes that "Undoubtedly, PiS's hypocrisy towards refugees and its corruption may discourage part of the electorate who conditionally vote for this party". Perhaps this will be enough to tip the scales in favor of the opposition.
On the other hand, eight years of PiS rule and numerous scandals have made Poles pay less and less attention to it, he adds.
State television in Poland is a crucial factor in this equation. It is fully controlled by PiS, the ruling party, and it plays a significant role in shaping public opinion. The party has a vested interest in downplaying any allegations of corruption and fraud, aiming to limit the dissemination of information that could tarnish its image. This control over the media landscape makes it challenging for opposition voices to gain traction and for the electorate to receive unbiased information about the situation.
In such an environment, the impact of fraud on the election becomes even more uncertain. The ability of the ruling party to shape the narrative through state-controlled media can create a skewed perception of events among the public. While some citizens may be disillusioned by PiS's actions, as mentioned earlier, others may remain largely unaware of the allegations due to the controlled media narrative. The outcome of the election will depend not only on the extent of fraud and corruption, but also on the effectiveness of opposition efforts to reach the electorate and counter the dominant narrative.