Major political shift in Poland as opposition parties band together

FILE PHOTO: Donald Tusk, the leader of the largest opposition grouping Civic Coalition (KO), speaks at the meeting with women during election convention in Lodz, Poland, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

In a major political shift, Poland’s ruling nationalists have lost their parliamentary majority in the nation’s most important election in decades. This opens up the possibility for opposition parties to seize power and potentially redefine the relationship between Poland and the European Union.

Since Law and Justice (PiS) came to power in 2015, Poland has been at odds with the European Union on several key issues, including the rule of law, media freedom, migration, and LGBT rights. Critics argue that the PiS government’s reforms undermine democratic standards. However, opposition parties have pledged to improve ties with Brussels and undo these controversial measures.

In the final tally released on Tuesday, PiS secured 35.4 percent, while Donald Tusk’s centrist Civic Coalition followed closely at 30.7 percent. The centre-right Third Way garnered 14.4 percent, the Left party received 8.6 percent, and the far-right Confederation achieved 7.2 percent.

The Law and Justice party secures 194 parliamentary seats, while Civic Coalition obtains 157, the Third Way gains 65, the Left party secures 26, and Confederation holds 18 seats. Under the leadership of former Prime Minister and European Council President Donald Tusk, all opposition parties except for the far-right Confederation, have committed to establishing a coalition government to remove PiS from power, with a combined total of 248 seats.

The delay in releasing the exit poll results was attributed to the unexpectedly high turnout of over 70%, with some polling stations remaining open until the early morning. This record turnout reflects the enthusiasm and active participation of the Polish people in this pivotal election.

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