Pro-European Opposition Triumphs in Poland’s Election

This is news that the rest of the European Union should welcome. According to exit polls, the pro-European centrist opposition won the Polish legislative elections this Sunday, October 15, 2023. The three opposition lists, which are the Civic Coalition (KO), Third Way and the Left, would together win 248 deputy seats out of the 460 in the Diet. By joining forces, they would become a majority in the lower house of the Polish Parliament, which would allow them to form a government coalition and take power. If these results, which should be made official today, are confirmed, they would put an end to eight years of government by the ultraconservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. A period which was notably marked by a deterioration of relations between Warsaw and Brussels against a backdrop of numerous attacks on the rule of law, the rights of minorities, the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press, carried out by the PiS in power. This victory which is emerging for the opposition maintains among the rest of European leaders the hope that relations with Poland will return to a form of normality. In any case, this is what Donald Tusk, leader of the Civic Coalition, former Polish Prime Minister from 2007 and 2014 and former President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019, promised. He also assured that he would do everything possible so that Brussels releases as quickly as possible the European funds of the recovery plan, frozen due to the numerous disputes which have opposed the European Commission and the PiS in recent years. “Poland won, democracy won, we drove them out of power (…) it’s the end of this bad period, it’s the end of the rule of PiS,” declared Donals Tusk just after the publication of the exit polls. For his part, the leader of PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, welcomed the relative success of his movement which will have nearly 200 seats in the Diet, but without a majority allowing it to form a government. “Whether we are in power or in opposition, (…) we will not allow Poland to be betrayed,” he declared. The participation rate reached an estimated 72.9%, a historic level since the fall of communism in 1989. The counting of ballots is still underway and should be made official in the coming hours.

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