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Country Reports

A celebration of democracy

by David Gregosz, Thomas Behrens, Daniel Lemmen

Pro-European opposition wins Polish parliamentary elections

Poland's national-conservative government has lost its political majority after eight years in power. After all votes were counted, the democratic opposition parties won the elections to the Polish Sejm and Senate on October 15th: Koalicja Obywatelska (Citizens' Coalition, KO), Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (Polish People's Party, PSL) and Polska 2050 (Poland 2050) - the latter both running together in the electoral alliance Trzecia Droga (Third Way, TD) – and Lewica (Left). Observers describe this result as a historic turning point, which is marked by a record voter turnout of 74.38% - the highest since the political change in 1989. In the coming months, Poland will face important decisions regarding its domestic and foreign policy. 180-degree changes can be expected in European and German policy, in socio-political issues, and in the style and rhetoric of a new government. The economic and institutional environment remains challenging because financial leeway is becoming narrower and powerful veto players have to be taken into account. Furthermore, there are important local and European elections coming up next year, which is why there are fears that the election campaign will simply continue. The PiS in particular will make things anything but easy for the new government and will make every attempt to damage the three-party alliance.

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