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UPDATE 2: Poland’s ruling conservatives win parliamentary election, but opposition on course to take power - updated exit poll

16.10.2023 08:15
Poland’s ruling conservatives have won the country’s parliamentary elections, but will not be able to muster a majority in the new parliament, paving the way for the opposition to take power, according to an updated exit poll.
  • Poland’s ruling conservatives win parliamentary election, but opposition on course to take power.
Photo:PAP/Valdemar Doveiko

The governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, allied with two smaller groupings in a United Right coalition, came first in Sunday’s election, with 36.6 percent of the vote, but the opposition looked poised to form the new government, according to exit poll projections released on Monday morning.

The liberal opposition Civic Coalition (KO) finished in second place, with 31 percent, and the centre-right opposition Third Way alliance was third with 13.5 percent, according to the updated survey by pollster Ipsos.

The New Left party was fourth on 8.6 percent.

The far-right Confederation group, with 6.4 percent, also crossed the 5-percent voter support threshold that Polish parties need to clear to enter parliament, the updated exit poll indicated.

According to the poll, Law and Justice secured 198 seats in the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, compared with a combined 248 for the opposition.

The Civic Coalition looked set to have 161 seats in the lower house; the Third Way alliance was seen garnering 57 seats; and the New Left secured 30 seats, according to the survey.

The Confederation was expected to have 14 lawmakers in the 460-seat house.

The Non-Partisan Local Government Activists group received 2.4 percent of the vote, according to the late exit poll, and will not be represented in parliament, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The polling company said its “late poll” findings combined exit poll data with partial official results and could vary by up to 2 percentage points from the final election returns.

The official results of the vote are expected to be announced by midday on Tuesday.

Voter turnout was a record 72.9 percent, according to the late exit poll.

An initial exit poll released on Sunday evening had pointed to a slightly smaller gap between the governing conservatives and the opposition, putting the Law and Justice party's showing at 200 seats vs. 248 seats for the opposition.

'A new era for Poland': opposition leader

Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Coalition, on Sunday hailed the opposition’s result as “a bright day” marking “the end of the bad time, the end of Law and Justice rule,” and “a day that opens a new era for Poland.”

Opposition leader Donald Tusk casts his ballot in Sunday's vote. Opposition leader Donald Tusk casts his ballot in Sunday's vote. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Tusk, a former prime minister and European Council president, thanked everyone who had voted for the Civic Coalition.

He said: “We’ve done a great thing together. We’ve won freedom, we’ve won democracy, we’ve won our beloved Poland.”

'Big success for our party and our vision of Poland': conservative leader

Meanwhile, Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński said his party had won its “fourth parliamentary elections” and “third in a row,” following victories in 2015 and 2019, the PAP news agency reported.

Poland's conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński poses as he votes at a polling station in Warsaw on Sunday. Poland's conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński votes at a polling station in Warsaw on Sunday. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Kaczyński, who serves as deputy prime minister, said the result represented “a big success for our party and our vision of Poland,” adding that it remained to be seen “if it can be translated into another term in power.”

'Big change is taking place in Poland'

Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, co-leader of the Third Way alliance, said, as quoted by PAP: “This is the day when big change is taking place in Poland. It wouldn’t have happened if the Third Way hadn’t been formed.”

Fellow Third Way co-leader Szymon Hołownia said: “The Third Way has been aiming to become an anchor of democracy in Poland ... It looks like this goal will be achieved.”

One of the leaders of the New Left, Włodzimierz Czarzasty, said: “The Left is returning to government after 18 years … Our pledges will be delivered.”

Czarzasty said the results meant “there can be no government without the left wing.”

He added that "a political party exists in order to win power and, by exercising power, to turn its dreams into reality,” the PAP news agency reported. 

Meanwhile, the Confederation’s Sławomir Mentzen described his group’s projected support as a “defeat,” the PAP news agency reported.

He said the result was "worse than anyone had expected.”

According to the Ipsos poll, 72.9 percent of adult Poles voted in the parliamentary elections, the highest voter turnout since 1989, the PAP news agency reported.

The Polish parliamentary election was combined with a referendum on issues including migration and the retirement age.


Source: PAP, National Electoral Commission PKW, Business Insider