Poland's political parties reveal campaign programs before the Oct 15 general election

The leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski ,right, during parliament vote to confirm that a government-planned controversial referendum on migration will be held alongside key parliamentary elections on Oct. 15, at the lower house of parliament in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, Aug. 2023. Critics say the referendum is a campaign ploy by ruling Law and Justice party to discredit the opposition and rally voters around government politics. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s conservative governing party and the opposition showered potential voters with promises on Saturday as the country's political parties revealed their campaign programs before the Oct. 15 parliamentary election.

The nationalist ruling Law and Justice party, which took power in 2015, wants to win an unprecedented third term. The government's tenure, however, has been marred with bitter clashes with the European Union over the government's rule of law record and democratic backsliding.

At a party convention, leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's most powerful politician, made promises of new spending on social and military causes for the nation living in the shadow of Russia's full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

The government has already largely increased the state budget deficit with spending on benefits for large families and retirees, its own voter base as well as on purchasing armament.

The main opposition Civic Coalition also laid out its program tenets, vowing to reverse the negative trends in foreign and home policy, mend fences with Brussels and to secure funds frozen now by the EU amid the rule of law dispute.

Party leader Donald Tusk, who is a former prime minister and former top EU figure, also promised to free state media and cultural activities from their current restrictions and “censorship.”

With five weeks to go to the election that will shape Poland for the next four years, opinion polls suggest that Law and Justice may garner the most electoral votes, but not enough to continue its current narrow control of the parliament, and may need to seek an uncomfortable coalition where the most probable partner would be the far-right Confederation.