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Polish opposition set to unseat ruling nationalists, marking significant political change.

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Polish opposition set to unseat ruling nationalists, marking significant political change.

Poland’s Ruling Nationalists Face Potential Power Shift in Election

Poland’s ruling nationalists appear to have lost their parliamentary majority in the nation’s most pivotal election in decades. This outcome could lead to a significant political shift as opposition parties vie for power.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has been in power since 2015, but has frequently clashed with the European Union over issues such as the rule of law, media freedom, migration, and LGBT rights. Opposition parties have pledged to repair relations with Brussels and reverse reforms that critics argue undermine democratic standards.

An Ipsos late exit poll suggests that PiS secured 36.6% of the vote, which would result in 198 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament. On the other hand, opposition parties, led by Donald Tusk’s liberal Civic Coalition (KO), are projected to win 248 seats, with KO receiving 31.0% of the votes.

A victory for the opposition would have far-reaching implications, potentially reshaping Poland’s relationship with the European Union and representing a significant electoral outcome for Europe as a whole.

Cezary Tomczyk, a KO lawmaker, has called on President Andrzej Duda to allow the democratic camp to choose a candidate for prime minister, suggesting Donald Tusk as the natural choice. However, if the official results confirm the exit poll, Tusk and his allies may have to wait for weeks or even months before having a chance at forming a government.

President Duda, who is aligned with PiS, has stated that the winning party should have the first opportunity to form a government. With the far-right Confederation party falling below expectations with 6.4% of the vote, it is uncertain who Duda’s potential allies will be.

The delay in the release of the exit poll was attributed to an unexpectedly high voter turnout. Television footage showed long lines at polling stations, with some people waiting up to six hours to cast their votes.

Donald Tusk, expressing his jubilation following the release of the exit poll results, stated that democracy had triumphed and proclaimed the end of the PiS government. On the other hand, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the party’s future in office.

As news of the potential power shift spread, Poland’s currency, the zloty, strengthened by 1.2%.