Opposition wins Polish election, according to exit poll – POLITICO

1697399994 Opposition wins Polish election according to exit poll – POLITICO | ltc-a

WARSAW — Poland’s opposition parties look like they’ve won a solid victory in the country’s general election, according to an exit poll released immediately after voting ended at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Although the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) came first in terms of support, three leading opposition parties would have a majority of seats in the 460-member parliament.

If the result holds, it’s a stunning defeat for PiS and could help thaw relations between Brussels and Warsaw. The party mobilized the full resources of the state to help it win, and it was also strongly backed by state media — which are firmly in the ruling party’s camp.

PiS was hobbled, however, by a growing number of scandals — including allegations that officials were selling vistas for bribes. Eight years of tensions and social conflict, with fights over abortion, rule of law, grain imports from Ukraine, and awful relations with the EU, which has frozen the payout of billions over rule of law worries, also eroded support for PiS.

The exit poll has PiS with 36.8 percent of the vote, followed by the centrist Civic Coalition with 31.6 percent, the center-right Third Way with 13 percent, the Left with 8.6 percent and the far-right Confederation with 6.2 percent. In 2019, PiS won 43.6 percent of the vote.

The poll was conducted by IPSOS and was shared with Poland’s three main television networks. The poll has a 2 percent margin of error.

Turnout was 73 percent, according to the exit poll — a record.

PiS looks set to win too few seats to take a majority in parliament, even it if combines with Confederation — which has said it won’t form a coalition with Law and Justice. The three other parties have pledged to work together to oust PiS.

According to the exit poll, Law and Justice would win 200 seats, Civic Coalition 163, Third Way 55, the Left 30 and Confederation would take 12.

The three leading opposition parties would have 248 seats in parliament, while PiS and Confederation would have 212.

PiS leader Jarosław Kazcyński called the result a victory for his party but admitted: “The question before us is whether this success can be turned into another term of office for our government. This we do not know at the moment, but we must hope and we must know that whether we are in power or in opposition, we will carry out this project and not allow Poland to be betrayed.”

He added: “We won’t allow Poland to be betrayed,” and said his party would work to ensure that its program won’t be abandoned.

Donald Tusk, the leader of Civic Coaltion, was ebullient at the result.

“I’m the happiest person on Earth,” said the former prime minister and European Council president whose return to Polish politics in 2021 proved crucial to the opposition’s hopes.

“We will create a good new democratic government with our partners,” he said, denouncing the past eight years of “evil.”

Once the vote count is finalized, the next move belongs to President Andrzej Duda, who has said that presidents traditionally choose a member of the largest largest party to nominate as prime minister and to take the first crack at forming a government.

Whoever Duda chooses would have 14 days to form a government and to try to win an absolute majority in a parliamentary vote of confidence. If that effort fails, parliament then takes a turn at nominating a prime minster.

The election was marked by one of the most bitter campaigns in Poland’s democratic history.

Kaczyński painted the opposition as posing an existential threat to the nation. He accused Tusk of being in cahoots with Berlin and Brussels to hobble Poland’s independence and let in a flood of migrants from Muslim countries.

The opposition warned that a third PiS term would turn Poland firmly away from liberal democracy by cementing the ruling party’s hold on the judiciary, media and state corporations — moving Poland in the direction of Hungary’s illiberal democracy.