parties appeared to have won enough votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election to oust the governing nationalist conservative party.
That party, Law and Justice, has bickered with allies and faced accusations of eroding rule of law at home in its eight years in power. It appeared that voters were mobilized like never before, voting in even greater numbers than when the nation ousted the communist authorities in 1989. Exit poll results pegged it at a record 72.9%. In some places people were still in line when polling officially closed, but all were allowed to vote.
If the result predicted by the exit poll holds, Law and Justice won but also lost. It got more seats than any other party but fewer than in the previous election and not enough to be able to lead a government that can pass laws in the legislature.
The Ipsos exit poll suggested that Law and Justice obtained 200 seats. Its potential partner, the far-right Confederation got 12 seats, a showing the party acknowledged was a defeat.
It also showed that three opposition parties have likely won a combined 248 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament, the Sejm. The largest of the groups is Civic Coalition, led by Tusk, a former prime minister and former European Union president. It won 31.6% of votes, the exit poll said.
“I have been a politician for many years. I’m an athlete. Never in my life have I been so happy about taking seemingly second place. Poland won. Democracy has won. We have removed them from power,” Tusk told his cheering supporters.
“This result might still be better, but already today we can say this is the end of the bad time, this is end of Law and Justice rule,” Tusk added.
Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski acknowledged the ambiguous result. He told supporters at his headquarters that his party’s result, at nearly 37% of the vote, according to the exit poll, was a success, making it the party to win the most votes for three parliamentary elections in a row.
“We must have hope and we must also know that regardless of whether we are in power or in the opposition, we will implement this (political) project in various ways and we will not allow Poland to be betrayed,” Kaczynski said.
If the result holds, and Law and Justice is the single party with the most seats, then it would most likely get the first chance to try to build a government.