Polish Legislative Bodies. Conservatives Win, But Not Enough To Control Parliament

According to preliminary results, Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, now in power in Poland, won the legislative elections in this Eastern European republic with 36.8% of the vote, but this was not enough to defeat the centrist and the pro-European electoral alliance “Civic Coalition” (KO) of former European Council President Donald Tusk, which received 31.6% of the vote.

For Polish media awaiting the final results of Tuesday’s vote, which marked a record turnout, it is a “historic turning point.” The reason being is that the pro-European centrist opposition won a parliamentary majority, defeating the populist nationalists in the government (PiS), as well as the far right.

Three centrist opposition parties led by Tusk’s Civic Coalition, the Christian Democrats of the Third Way movement, and the left together won 248 of the 460 seats in the Sejm, as parliament is called in Poland, against a hypothetical 212 seats for Kaczynski’s PiS party and the far-right Confederation party.

Therefore, alliances with two minor parties should allow Tusk to count on a majority of 248 deputies in the lower house. “This dark period is over, the populist reign of Law and Justice is over,” Tusk exulted at a rally in Warsaw in front of a crowd of his supporters. “Poland has won, democracy has won,” Tusk chanted, apparently already confident of the result.

In any case, Tusk will have to wait for the results of the research mission, which Polish President Andrzej Duda will have to formally entrust to the “winning party of the elections,” that is, Kaczynski’s PiS party, which has only one option, immediately called a “tough nut to crack” by Polish political observers: barter with the right-wing Confederation Party, which gained enough votes to have a dozen of its own deputies in the Sejm.

As the Polish periodical Gazeta Wyborcza writes, “It remains to be seen whether the left party has crossed the 8 percent threshold: if it remains below this threshold, this will result in its parliamentary seats going to PiS as the winner in accordance with Polish electoral rules.”