Poland’s Ruling Conservatives Hammer Opposition in Categorical Election Win

Poland’s Ruling Conservatives Hammer Opposition in Categorical Election Win

For the first, the far-right Confederation gained representation in the Polish parliament.

Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) led by former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski triumphed in Sunday’s general election in the EU’s sixth largest member state defeating the liberal opposition.

Despite controversial judicial reforms highly criticized by the EU and some recent public scandals, the PiS won more 43.8% of the cast votes (more than 8 million votes), an even higher result than it scored back in 2015 when it came to power 37.6%), according to initial results announced on Monday.

The victory, at least partly attributed to the generous social programs introduced by PiS such as providing allowances of EUR 116 per month per child, translates into PiS majorities in both houses of the Polish legislature – with 239 seats in the 460-seat Sejm (the lower house), and 61 seats in the 100-member Senate.

Despite their categorical win, however, Poland’s ruling conservatives have failed to clinch a constitutional majority that would have allowed them to change the country’s basic law single-handedly.

The main opposition force, the liberal centrist Civic Coalition, including the Civic Platform party previously led by European Council President Donald Tusk, received 27.2% of the votes, down from 31.7% back in 2015, despite performing very well in the Polish capital Warsaw. The Civic Coalition was left with 130 seats in the Sejm and 26 in the Senate.

Apart from the ruling conservatives’ definitive victory, Sunday’s general election in Poland is notable for the result of the far-right Confederation, which is now entering the Polish parliament for the first time with 6.8% of the votes, surpassing the 5% parliamentary threshold.

The other formations that made to the Polish legislature after Sunday’s elections are the Left, a center-left political alliance, with 12.5%, and the Polish Coalition built around the conservative, rural Polish People’s Party.

“We’ve managed to win, and it seems [the result] will stand. If it stands, the good change will continue. If we have another four years in power, then we need to analyze what we managed to do, and what went wrong,” PiS leader Jaroslaw Kachynski said on election night, as cited by TVN24.

“We are a formation which deserves more. We’ve got much but we deserve more. Above all, it means that we’re bound with an obligation. To work, to ideas, to invention, and to looking closer at those groups that did not support us… Poland must keep on changing for the better,” he added.

“Those 8 million Poles entrusted us with a huge obligation to fulfill the hopes for the next four years, to reach a key stage on Poland’s road to prosperity, to Poland as a country of prosperity for all,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in turn.

“The result we achieved gives us a huge social mandate despite all this adversity – wind blew in our eyes for four years, as we were treading uphill with a bag full of stones, on a winding uphill path. And yet, we gained a significant, huge social trust,” he added.

The leader of the opposition Civic Platform party, Grzegorz Schetyna, called for the cooperation and integration of opposition formations.

“All is still to come – the presidential election – we will be ready then as well and we will win, that’s our promise,” he stated.

(Banner image: PiS on Twitter)

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