Rock Star Becomes Poland’s Most Trusted Politician, Poll Shows

A rock musician has become Poland’s most trusted politician, an opinion poll showed on Thursday, highlighting the nation’s hunger for political change before the fall general election.

Pawel Kukiz, who garnered a surprising 21 percent to place third in the initial round of this month’s presidential ballot, is trusted by 58 percent of his compatriots, pollster CBOS said in a monthly report. This makes the former punk rocker more trustworthy than President-Elect Andrzej Duda, who won Sunday’s runoff against the incumbent by promising to change the status quo after eight years under the ruling Civic Platform party.

Kukiz, 51, mobilized the protest vote, especially those under 30, by promising to “give Poland back to its citizens” and pledging to “never, ever deceive” his followers. Duda and outgoing President Bronislaw Komorowski both wooed his fans before the May 24 runoff by pledging to back his initiatives, such as reforming the voting system.

“Poland’s political scene is going through a period of accelerated decomposition,” Olgierd Annusewicz, a political scientist at Warsaw University, said by phone. “The crisis of confidence in politicians is deepening, but these emotions should subside once people find out what Kukiz is all about.”

Duda was trusted by 54 percent, up 10 percentage points in the past month and even with Komorowski, who lost 13 percentage points since April, the survey showed. In a sign of just how quick Kukiz’s rise to political stardom has been, the polling company didn’t have any comparison figure.

The former leader of a band called Piersi, which means “Breasts” in Polish, Kukiz was a clear winner with younger voters in the May 10 ballot, getting 42.2 percent in the 18 to 29 age bracket, according to polling company Ipsos.

With a tune from his hit “The City Is Waking Up,” the combat boot-wearing Kukiz, who said he quit drinking after years of partying, appealed to Poles’ sense of national pride and solidarity. He now plans to create a movement that will vie for power in parliamentary elections due by November.