Big Win for Liberal Democracy in Poland – From the NYT this morning, Centrists Parties Poised To Oust Poland’s Nationalist Government
Centrist and progressive forces appeared capable of forming a new government in Poland after securing more seats in a critical general election on Sunday, despite the governing nationalist party, Law and Justice, winning the most votes for a single party.
Exit polls showing a strong second place finish by the main opposition group, Civic Coalition, and better than expected results for two smaller centrist and progressive parties suggested a dramatic upset that would frustrate the governing party’s hope of an unprecedented third consecutive term.
A jubilant Donald Tusk, Civic Coalition’s leader, declared the projected results a resounding “win for democracy” that would end the tenure of Law and Justice, known by its Polish acronym PiS, in power since 2015.
“We did it! We really did!” Mr. Tusk, a former prime minister, told supporters Sunday night. “This is the end of this bad time! This is the end of PiS rule!”
Przemyslaw Adynowski, a Warsaw lawyer, said he had voted for Civic Coalition in what he described as “probably the most important election in 30 years.” A victory for Law and Justice, he added, would complete Poland’s “phase of transition from democracy to an authoritarian system” and put it at odds with its allies in NATO and the European Union, except for Hungary, a much smaller nation with little clout.
Piotr Buras, the head of the Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, declared the election “a triumph of both democracy and liberalism” that “opens the way for a massive reorientation of Poland’s domestic and European policy.”
High turnout. Strong performance among young people. Rejection of virulently anti-immigrant politics and illiberalism. Strong, durable coalition of liberals and progressives. A big win for pro-democracy forces in a pivotal European country.