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Poland’s largest opposition party wins parliamentary election: polls

The Civic Platform party (PO), Poland’s largest opposition party, won a broad lead over the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) in Sunday’s early parliamentary elections, according to several exit polls.

The exit polls by Polish national television TVP and the Republic daily showed the PO won 43.7% of ballots and the PiS 30.4%, which can be translated into 224 and 156 seats respectively in the Sejm, the lower house of Parliament. The bicameral Polish Parliament is composed of the Sejm (the Lower House) and the Senate, holding 460 and 100 seats respectively, with a four-year term each. Another exit poll by private television station TVN24 indicated similar results, with the PO wining 44.2% and the PiS 31.3%. The polls also showed the Polish Peasants’ Party and the Left and Democrats League would gather enough votes to enter the new parliament, while the League of Polish Families (LPR) and the Self-Defense Party failed to get 5% of ballots, losing access to parliament. The voting, which had been expected to end at 20:00 (18.00 GMT), concluded at 22:55 local time (20.55 GMT) Sunday due to the shortage of ballots in one polling station in Warsaw. Official results would not be available until Tuesday.

More than 30 million Poles registered to cast their votes. The exit polls showed a strong turnout of over 50%, which set a new record for the last 14 years in parliamentary elections. The current Polish parliament was elected in October 2005 when the PiS, the largest party in parliament, came into power. In May 2006, the PiS formed a coalition with the LPR and Self-Defense Party, but the three-party coalition collapsed in August this year due to differences on both domestic and foreign affairs. On Sept. 7 of this year Poland’s Sejm approved a self-dissolution motion, paving the way for early parliamentary elections.

Poland’s Left and Democrats party said on Sunday to Reuters, it will not enter a coalition with the Civic Platform party, which won the parliamentary election on Sunday but will back its pro-European course. (