Polish President-Elect Softens Stance on Reducing Retirement Age

Polish President-Elect Andrzej Duda softened his flagship campaign promise to reduce the retirement age, saying there won’t be a “simple return” to the previous rules.

Duda won Sunday’s presidential election against incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski after campaigning to reverse the government’s decision to raise the retirement age to 67 years, which he said forced Poles to work “until death.” Undoing the overhaul, which raised the age by two years for men and seven for women, would cost the budget 71.5 billion zloty ($18.8 billion) by 2020, according to employers’ lobby Pracodawcy RP.

“I want to give people a choice,” Duda told RMF FM radio on Thursday in his first interview since winning the ballot. “If someone wants to work longer, sure, they can. It’s also a question of costs.”

Duda, 43, said his proposal may link the retirement age with the number of years worked, which will probably be set at 40. Some may opt to retire earlier to look after grandchildren while others work longer to gather more capital, he said.

The president-elect, who will get sworn in on Aug. 6, is considering levying new taxes on banks, which he said were making “gigantic amounts of cash” in Poland, while transferring most of their profits abroad.

Duda, who shook Poland’s political establishment with his upset victory over Komorowski, appealed to voters who feel left behind by the country’s economic success. His win has helped lift support ratings for the opposition Law & Justice party before a general election due by November.

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