Will the Greens gets their first MPs elected in coal-hungry Poland?

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By Oliver Whitfield-Miocic  with Reuters
Will the Greens gets their first MPs elected in coal-hungry Poland?

Poland produces more coal than any other EU state and the effect of burning it in power stations is obvious: 33 of the EU's 50 most-polluted towns and cities are Polish, according to the World Health Organization.

Around 80% of its electricity is generated from highly polluting coal-fired power plants, more than any other EU country.

In June, Poland was one of three EU members to veto a bid to reduce net carbon emissions to zero unless the bloc helped pay for renewable energy alternatives.

That got the backing of Poland's powerful mining unions who normally support Jaroslaw Kaczynski's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).

Then just two weeks ago, in the run-up to Sunday's election in Poland, Kaczynski opened the country’s first new mine in 25 years.

His government says even more mines might be needed and it's put forward plans to strip communities and local authorities from having a say on where they are located.

But air quality issues are also growing domestically and the government is under increasing pressure from the European Union to cut carbon emissions. Consequently, PiS has also pledged investment in solar power, offshore wind and nuclear power, to cut emissions.

If, as expected, the ruling Law and Justice Party remain in power after Sunday they will face a crucial legislative hurdle

“The government says new legislation is needed so they can mine coal when the country needs it. Politicians will vote on the proposed law just two days after the election. Critics argue the private members' bill has been rushed through without proper scrutiny,” Euronews' Oliver Whitfield-Miocic reported.

The bill has infuriated the fledgeling Green Party.

Climate change protests are becoming more frequent in Poland as public concern grows, but despite several attempts, the party has never had a politician elected to Parliament.

Now they're hoping Sunday's election will see them break into mainstream politics.