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Country Reports

Local elections in Poland 2024

by David Gregosz, Dr. Piotr Womela

Tailwind or setback for the new Tusk government?

Regional and local elections were held in Poland on 7 April 2024. The national-conservative party Law and Justice (PiS) had the best result with 34.4%. In second place was the liberal electoral alliance Civic Coalition (KO) with 30.6%, while the third place on the podium went to the centrist electoral committee Third Way (Trzecia Droga) with 14.3%. In total, the liberal democratic parties won just over 50% and will govern in most of Poland's 16 regions. In this sense, PiS lost this election, if by losing we mean losing power. PiS has no coalition capacity and in principle can only govern where it has won an absolute majority. Its shares in local government have decreased and that of KO has increased. But in terms of image, PiS won the elections.

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The local elections of the currently ruling pro-democracy coalition came out below expectations. The KO expected to win even in 14-15 regions. Especially, as recently as the beginning of the year, polls were still showing a lead for KO over PiS. The success of the parliamentary elections on 15 October 2023 and the extraordinary mobilisation of voters was neither repeated nor sealed. In contrast, a disciplined PiS electorate turned up at the ballot box, ensuring a good result for the party. With a low turnout of just over half of those eligible to vote, the “hardcore electorate” proved to be the most numerous. Earlier elections, especially the 2015 parliamentary elections that brought PiS to power, were characterised precisely by voter absenteeism and low voter mobilisation.


It can only be assumed that for many KO voters, the significance of this election was too low to bother going to the polling stations. The 2023 parliamentary elections outcome expressed the frustration of voters who were fed up with the PiS government. This goal was achieved and the reason for this extraordinary mobilisation disappeared. At the same time, the Tusk government's achievements do not look as impressive as the new cabinet's announcements for the first 100 days. This does not mean that the government is inefficient, but rather that voters' expectations are very high and the government's budgetary capacities are severely limited.


The coalition of liberal democratic parties faces the difficult task of at least maintaining its current support levels and convincing the electorate with concrete policy results. It will be about more than the most important meta-topics: the rule of law, media reform or Europe. Based on surveys on economic and social issues, people want noticeable improvements in their everyday lives. The geopolitical context alone seems extremely challenging to implement this. Without a high degree of unity in the government coalition and agreement on common priorities, this will hardly succeed and could quickly drive swing voters and undecided voters back to their political competitors.


The full-length publication is only available in german.

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David Gregosz

David Gregosz bild

Director KAS office Poland +48 22 845-9330


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