News & Analysis

Polish ruling party returned to office with absolute majority

With more than two thirds of votes counted, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) looks set for a clear victory in a parliamentary election, taking around 46 per cent of the vote. The party’s score should be enough to see it win an absolute majority of at least nine seats.

The main opposition grouping, Civic Coalition, claimed around 25.5 per cent of the vote, with the left-wing Lewica group taking third place with 11.9 per cent. The result marks a return of left-wing parties to the Polish parliament after a four-year absence.

Official results are expected on October 14.

“We have victory,” PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński told supporters at party headquarters in Warsaw.

“We have four years of hard work ahead. Poland must change more and it must change for the better.”

However, there was a distinct note of disappointment in Mr Kaczyński words and tone, and even a reference to the party not getting the result it “deserves”. In final opinion polls before the election, PiS had been predicted to win almost 50 per cent of the vote.

The agrarian Polish People’s Party, with 8.6 per cent, also looks set to win seats in parliament, as does a new far-right alliance called Konfederacja, with 6.4 per cent.

One of the leaders of Konfederacja is Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a former MEP best known outside Poland for arguing that women are not intelligent enough to be allowed to vote.

Turnout, at 61.6 per cent, was the largest in a Polish parliamentary election since the fall of communism in 1989.