The population of Poland, living both in the country and abroad, has impatiently gathered around their TV screens to witness results of the long-awaited parliamentary elections. A fresh breath of air entered Polish politics. The election, that happened on the 15th of October, has resulted in PiS, The Law and Justice Party that was in power for eight years, getting 194 seats in the parliament. The opposition, counting KO (Civic Coalition), Trzecia Droga (Third Way) and Nowa Lewica (The Left) has obtained 248 seats combined. Although PiS has officially won the election with 35.38 per cent of the votes, the party has failed to maintain the parliamentary majority. These results could shape the future of the country in many different ways.
A fresh breath of air entered Polish politics
For PiS, there is a clear disadvantage that stems from the impossibility of going into coalition with the far-right party, Konfederacja. The prediction of Konfederacja gaining 10 per cent of the votes has fallen short, with them getting only 18 seats in the parliament, and therefore demolishing any chances of PiS forming a coalition with them.
The next step in forming the new government is to wait for Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, to appoint the new prime minister. As Law and Justice is the party that got the highest percentage of votes, they get the privilege of forming the government and doing a vote of confidence. However, considering the lack of solution in terms of forming a parliamentary majority, there are not many routes left for the party.
PiS seems to be delaying the inevitable as the President announced that the first parliament meeting wil take place on the 13th of November and he would choose a prime minister candidate after that. That means the government forming process could delay well into December. Law and Justice could be hoping to prolong the procedure in order to find potential MPs that would join their side, although they would need as many as 37. The only remote chance for PiS to ragain parliamentary power could be to negotiate with Third Way party that shares similar, Christian values, although is known for criticising the current government’s wrongdoings.
The government forming process could delay well into December
During the rule of Law and Justice, the relationship of Poland and the EU has worsened, due to scandals in persecution of minorities and strict abortion laws. The state television has also suffered, the quality of national journalism has come to pointing fingers at the main opposition leader, Donald Tusk, and accusing him of working against Polish interest with Germany and Russia. The polarisation of Polish society has led to families arguing over politics, aggressive media discourse and tensions due to opposing views. The issue is reflected in the referendum that was held on the same day as the election. The questions were focused on social issues such as migration and influence of foreign countries in Poland, deepening the gap between liberal and conservative voters.
The outstanding 74 per cent turnout has been the highest since the end of communism and it demonstrated the will of people to decide the fate of their country. Since the 2019 parliamentary election, the number of younger people voting significantly increased, from 46.4 per cent to 68.8 per cent. The atmosphere surrounding the wait to vote has been reported as immaculate, with people singing and bonding over the process of queuing, offering each other food and company as a sign of solidarity. The eagerness to induce change in the country has provided a positive scenario on the future of Europe, meaning that there is a chance for change.