The majority of opposition parties in Sunday’s elections in Poland, shown by exit polls, was confirmed by the official final result announced this Tuesday.
The Law and Justice Party (PiS) in government received the most votes: 35.38%. This was followed by Civic Alliance, 30.7%; third way, 14.4%; New Left, 8.61% (all three parties have majorities); Finally, in fifth place, the Federation with 7.16%.
74.4% participation in assembly elections was the highest in the country. The polling sparked great excitement, with many polling stations casting their votes long after polls closed. One was particularly telling in Wrocław, where people waited until 3am to vote (the Electoral Commission announced that everyone in line could vote until 9pm). A local pizzeria offered free pizzas to anyone who wanted to vote.
Many in Poland saw the election as truly jeopardizing the country’s democratic future, eight years after PiS’s mandate to control the courts and state television saw votes cast on a more uneven playing field in favor of the government.
As an ally of the ruling party, President Andrej Duda is expected to give BIS its first chance to form a government, albeit not on track for a majority, even with the far-right Coalition Party. During the campaign he promised not to ally with anyone (it was a strong anti-establishment party). Duda is nicknamed “President Ben” for signing the majority of PiS laws, even if they are of dubious legality. Every time, however, it comes as a surprise, said Sofia Kostreva, an analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), ahead of the vote.
PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski declared: “We have days of struggle ahead of us,” the German daily quoted him as saying. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).
With no quick transition of power expected and PiS still to form a government, many analysts fear maneuvers for the party to retain itself. “PiS has many ways to form a new government,” warns Reinhart Veser at FAZ. “Europe cannot take a deep breath yet”, he added, adding that the EU should be alert to potential complications in the transition of power. This opinion echoes that of researchers such as Piot Buras from the ECRF or Maciej Kisilowski from the Central European University.
Although the new government has promised to dismantle the entire structure set up by PiS to control the country, including attacks on judicial independence, such as funding for the Recovery and Resilience Program (PRR) blocked by Brussels, this will not be the case. The task is easy. To do so, it may have to take steps within the bounds of the law, some analysts point out.
PiS will be an opposition party and has the power to resist. At the international level, Poland is expected to have a positive and constructive attitude towards its allies (PiS again raised the issue of reparations from Germany during the campaign) and the European Union. But, as Maciej Kisielowski characterizes, a party with an authoritarian character will continue to have influence and intensify debate.