Published: Mon, October 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Poland’s ruling conservatives seek majority in key election

Poland’s ruling conservatives seek majority in key election

The exit poll after the closing of the vote in Poland at 9.00 pm on Sunday indicated governing Law and Justice party (PiS) won 43.6 per cent of the vote in the parliamentary election.

Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is considered the real power behind Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's government, cautioned that the exit polls weren't the final results but nonetheless declared victory.

It is still unclear whether it is the PiS or the opposition that would wins most seats in the upper house of parliament - the Senate.

Turnout was relatively high at 61.3 per cent.

A left-wing alliance build around the Democratic Left Alliance trailed in third with slightly over 12% support, bringing the left back into parliament after having no representation there over the past four years.

According to the European Union, the ruling party's overhaul of Poland's courts and public prosecution over the past four years has eroded the country's judicial independence.

The results point to a Law and Justice majority in parliament.

Opposition hopes of winning enough seats to form a coalition government even if PiS topped the vote looked in disarray after a bitter campaign in which the ruling populists positioned themselves as defenders of "Polish values".

The far-right Confederation would get 6.6%.

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Kaczynski has tapped into a populist backlash against liberal elites, similar to trends in Western Europe and the US.

Supported by outgoing EU Council President Donald Tusk - Kaczynski's arch-rival - the opposition Citizen's Coalition (KO) draws on urban voters upset by the PiS's divisive politics, judicial reforms threatening the rule of law, graft scandals and monopolisation of public media.

But within Poland, PiS appears to have grown in popularity.

"The PiS gets votes by scaring people and then offering protection; in the 2015 election, migrants were the enemy, now it's gay people, it's unacceptable", said Monika, a 38-year-old Warsaw mother of two working in the automotive sector.

Economist Michal Brzezinski said on Twitter on Sunday night that PiS's generous economic pledges of recent months - including the doubling of the minimum wage and higher pension payments - do not seem to have translated into additional votes for the party.

According to a CBOS research before the election, 72 percent of Poles said they meant to show up at the polls.

Preliminary official election results are due on Monday.

But many Poles were left out during that transformation, which lead to inequality and discontentment.

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