Law and Justice party wins one of largest victories in Poland's democratic history

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Law and Justice party wins one of largest victories in Poland's democratic historyThe leader of Poland’s governing party has vowed his party will carrying on changing Poland “for the better” after it romped to one of the biggest wins in the country’s modern democratic history in Sunday’s general election. Law and Justice scooped 43.59 per cent of the vote, around 16 per cent more than the Civic Coalition, a centrist grouping, while a left-wing bloc came third with 12.56 per cent. The turnout of 61 per cent was the highest in three decades. The result puts the party within touching distance of an absolute majority in the 360-seat lower house of parliament. If nothing changes Law and Justice will get about 236 seats, giving it a slender majority. It amounted to a resounding endorsement of Law and Justice’s policies, including controversial reforms that have encountered fierce domestic and international criticism. According to the European Union, the ruling party’s overhaul of Poland’s courts and public prosecution over the past four years has eroded the country’s judicial independence. The party also used public media to promote its successes and to cast a poor light on the opposition. Public media programming, in many cases, depicted the LGBT rights movement as a dire threat to Poland, echoing the rhetoric of members of the ruling party, Confederation and the Catholic Church. “We have four years of hard work ahead of us because Poland must continue changing, and it must be changing for the better,” said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the diminutive Law and Justice leader who, despite having no cabinet position, is regarded as the most powerful figure in Polish politics. Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, who is expected to continue to hold the position in the new government, said the exit polls results showed that Law and Justice had been given an “enormous social mandate.” In a tweet Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, the opposition candidate for prime minister, thanked those who voted for Civic Coalition, adding that “we must take responsibility for rebuilding a community in Poland.” Still, the Law and Justice victory may well have fallen short of the landslide some in the party had hoped for. The party will have to contend with significant opposition in parliament from three rivals that between them got almost 50 per cent of the vote. Law and Justice also lost control of the senate, the upper house of parliament, which could now provide resistance to the its legislative agenda. The far-right Confederation alliance is also set to enter parliament after getting 6.81 per cent despite allegations of anti-Semitism and bigotry. During the election campaign, Grzegorz Braun, one of its leaders, said: “Deviants will not be raising our children. Revolutionaries will not be teaching us tolerance. Germans, Jews or Ukrainians will not be rewriting history for us.”


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