Elections in Poland, carried out according to exit polls: majority for the pro-EU opposition


By John

A turning point in Poland which surprisingly, at least according to the only exit poll released in the evening, should abandon the sovereignist and anti-EU drift that has characterized it for eight years and return to a more conciliatory relationship with the European Union. In the legislative elections held today which marked a record turnout, the conservative and nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party led by Jaroslav Kaczynski came first as expected, with 36.8%, distancing the centrist and pro-European electoral alliance ‘Civic Coalition’ (KO) of the former president of the European Council Donald Tusk, which would go to 31.6%. But Tusk will be able to count on a majority of 248 deputies in the Sejm, the lower house, considering the alliances with two minor parties that have already declared themselves willing to govern with him. “This dark period is over, the populist reign of Law and Justice is over,” Tursk exulted in the evening in front of his supporters. «Poland has won, democracy has won», he chanted, evidently already sure of the result.

Even if the Polish president Andrzej Duda should entrust the exploratory task to the party that won the elections, the PiS of Kaczynski and the outgoing prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki could only try to convince the officially reluctant right-wing extremists of ‘Confederation’: the racist, homophobic party intending to cut military aid to Ukraine would, however, have collected only 6.2% of the votes and therefore 12 deputies who would lead the coalition right-wing party to control only 212 parliamentarians out of 460. Tusk, on the other hand, can already count on the newly formed centre-right ‘Third Way’ alliance, made up of the agrarian-oriented Polish People’s Party and Poland 2050, which has a program similar to that of Ko and which would have gathered 13% and above all 55 deputies. To these would be added the 30 of the social-democratic, pro-EU and progressive alliance ‘The Left’, which would have obtained 8.6%.

However, there is the last unknown of the 8% threshold for the alliances that the Left risks colliding with: if it were to fail, it would cause its seats to flow to PiS as the winner according to Polish electoral rules. The eight years (since 2015) in which PiS has repeatedly clashed with the EU, which is withholding billions of funds in this tug-of-war, seem to be coming to an end. Europe blames the current Warsaw government not only for the reforms that have politicized the judicial system and transformed the state-owned media into a propaganda tool. Kaczynski and Morawiecki are also under fire for having further tightened the already severe anti-abortion law and accused of fomenting homophobia.

Driving Tusk’s probable victory was thevoter turnout, almost certainly record since Poland has voted in democracy. During the election campaign, Tusk had vowed to “bring Poland back to Europe” and to reverse what he described as the illiberal course of the country, promising a Poland open to dialogue with a united Europe and the world, tolerant, faithful to the rights of men and women, sensitive to climate problems and respectful of the rule of law. “The majority of Poles voted for change. They want a strong, stable and future-oriented Poland in the heart of the EU. The Poles have chosen the rule of law , free courts and media, an apolitical army and democracy. They have chosen Europe”, the European People’s Party (EPP) group wrote in X in the evening.