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Poland – update on the local elections

While still awaiting official results, some candidates have already brought out the champagne.

October 22, 2018 - New Eastern Europe - News Briefs

The 2018 local elections in Poland took place on October 21st. Some 30 million citizens were eligible to vote. Between 7.00 AM and 9.00 PM, Poles voted for some 47,000 regional parliament members, city councils and nearly 2,500 mayoral candidates.

The ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), received 33 per cent of the vote according to the exit polls. This result is better than their result in the previous local elections in 2014, but not any boost in popularity with regards to the national parliamentary election results from 2015.

The opposition Civic Coalition (KO) – made up of the Civic Platform (PO) and Modern (Nowoczesna) – received some 27 per cent of the vote. Even if they were second to PiS overall, they did win some prestigious battles for presidencies in some of the bigger cities.

In the capital city of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski (KO) avoided a second round by defeating PiS’s Patryk Jaki, considered to be a rising star in the ruling party, 54 to 31 per cent. In Kraków, Jacek Majchrowski (supported by KO and some of the left) leads ahead of Małgorzata Wassermann (PiS) ahead of the runoff election in two weeks. In Łódź, incumbent Hanna Zdanowska (KO) delivered a crushing defeat to Waldemar Buda (PiS), receiving 70 per cent of the vote. While in Wrocław, Jacek Sutryk (KO) seems to have avoided a second round of voting, hovering around 50 per cent. It is also likely that voters in Poznań have decided to reelect Jacek Jakśkowiak (KO) for another term as exit polls show he has received some 56 per cent there.

PiS’s election campaign against PSL (the agrarian party) in the countryside shows signs of mixed results, with PSL receiving 13 per cent of the votes according to the latest polls. This will enable them to enter into coalitions (as in the previous term) with members of KO, keeping PiS away from power in some of the contested regions. 

For the left, this election was a weak showing. Their scattered vote will yet again hand over mandates to the winning party (mainly PiS) in accordance with the D’Hondt method used in Poland for calculating proportionality and allocation of parliamentary seats. This is also the case for the smaller votes of both the Ruch Narodowy (Nationalist Movement) and the Green Party (Zieloni).

The voter turnout was the biggest winner. It was greatest ever for a local election since 1989, at 54 per cent.

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