By BI: Poland consolidated its rightwing shift on Sunday as the Conservative Law and Justice Party wins 242 of 460 seats in parliament, ending 8 years of centrist rule. Exit polls showed voters had handed an absolute majority to the Eurosceptic party that is against all Muslim immigration, wants Polish family-focused welfare spending and has threatened to ban abortion. For the first time in many years, it appears there will be no left wing members in Parliament.
Times of Israel Poland took a decisive turn to the right in its parliamentary election Sunday, tossing out the centrist party that had governed for eight years for a socially conservative and Euroskeptic party that wants to keep migrants out and spend more on Poland’s own poor. Even better, by winning over 39% of the vote, Law and Justice party has enough to govern alone without forming a coalition.
Kaczynski credited his late brother, former Polish President Lech Kaczynski, with the party’s strong showing. His brother was killed in the 2010 air crash in Russia that claimed the lives of the president and many of Poland’s top leaders.
If the exit poll results are confirmed, the Law and Justice will take 242 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament and 58-year-old lawmaker Beata Szydlo will become Poland’s next prime minister. Civic Platform will get 133 seats and only three other parties will make it into parliament — two of them for the first time.
Law and Justice is strongly pro-NATO but also more skeptical of the 28-nation European Union, of which Poland is a member. The party opposes adopting the euro currency and is strongly anti-Muslim migrant, positions that are expected to have a broader impact on the whole EU. The Catholic Church was seen as backing Law and Justice, as were many Poles who have not benefited from the country’s strong economic growth, expected at 3.5 percent this year.
Law and Justice has promised to reverse an unpopular rise in the retirement age and put more money into the pockets of struggling families with tax breaks, monthly cash bonuses for children under 18 and free medication for people over 75. It also wants to raise taxes on the mostly foreign-owned banks and big supermarkets in Poland and give tax breaks to smaller local businesses and those that adopt Polish technologies.
For the first time in Poland’s post-communist history, no left-wing forces appeared to have won enough votes Sunday to enter into parliament, according to the Ipsos exit poll.
It showed that only five parties gained enough votes to make it into parliament: Law and Justice; the centrist Civic Platform; a right-wing party led by rock star Pawel Kukiz; the new pro-business party Modern Poland led by a former World Bank economist and the Polish Peasants Party. Two left-wing forces had been in the running: the United Left, a coalition of several parties, and a new party, Together.
Civic Platform had led Poland through a period of strong economic growth and political stability, even during the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the 2010 plane crash that killed so many top Polish officials. But the presidential vote in May signaled problems for Civic Platform when Law and Justice candidate Andrzej Duda edged out their incumbent.
Having the backing of the Catholic Church has led to some fears that Law and Justice will try to ban in vitro fertilization and create a total ban on abortion. For now, abortion in Poland is only allowed in rare cases, such as when the mother’s life is at risk or the fetus is damaged.
“If Law and Justice end up governing alone with an allied president, Poland will become another Hungary,” said Prof Radosław Markowski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a reference to the extremist rightwing views of the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán. (EXCELLENT!)
Thousands of Polish patriots come out to protest against the Muslim invasion of Europe: