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Poland’s opposition leader Donald Tusk and his Civic Platform party, along with two smaller partners, won 248 of the 460 seats in the next parliament, according to the country’s final election results, giving him a path to form a coalition government.
The ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) led by Jaroslaw Kaczyski is the largest party in the lower house of parliament, or Sejm, with 194 seats, according to results released on Tuesday. But an alliance with the far-right Coalition Party, which won 18 seats, would not be enough for a majority.
President Andrej Duda is expected to give the BIS party its first chance to form a government when parliament convenes in the next 30 days. But if PiS fails to muster enough support, the baton will be passed to Tusk, who can vote parliament to put his government into office in December.
Tusk, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2014, is set to return to power in 2021, regaining control of his party after spending five years in Brussels as president of the European Council.
The opposition presented Sunday’s election as a last chance to save democracy and halt a slide toward authoritarianism and eroded rule of law in the largest EU member state in central and eastern Europe.
However, PiS said Poland faces a struggle to preserve national sovereignty, with Tusk acting as a pawn for Brussels, Berlin and even Moscow. But Tusk said Kaczynski, who has been feuding with Kaczynski for two decades, was modeling the Kremlin’s future regime.
Tusk, 66, has promised to put Warsaw on a pro-European path, restore the independence of judges and unlock billions of euros in EU funds that have been withheld by the European Commission in a fight with the PiS-led government over judicial reforms.
Voters flocked to the polls – the largest turnout of 74.4 percent since Poland’s return to democracy.
The change of government should be relatively “smooth and uncomplicated, but not too fast,” said Wojciech Szaky, head of the political desk at the Politica Insight think tank.
“There may be fights and fights” during the coalition talks, said Shockey, “but I don’t think anything can change the outcome of this process and I think we will see a new Donald Tusk government before the end of the year”.
Tusk is expected to share power with two parties that performed better than expected, notably a third-way coalition of centrist and agrarian parties that won 65 seats. The left-wing Levika party, which is a partner of the younger coalition, won 26 seats.
“It’s the end of bad times, it’s the end of the PiS regime,” the combined seats won by the opposition group in a poll published on Sunday matched Tusk’s already-declared victory.
The three opposition parties also control the upper house, the Senate, which holds 65 of the 100 seats.
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