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26 October 2015

Nationalist Party Wins Poland’s Election

Poland is one of the most homogeneous nations in Europe

WARSAW—Poland’s nationalist opposition Law and Justice party has won parliamentary elections on Sunday and looks likely to have enough votes to govern on its own, after promising to spend more on welfare, focus on traditional Catholic values and take a more assertive view within the European Union.

The party looks likely to win 232 seats in the 460-seat Sejm, the lower house of Parliament, according to polling data from 90% of voting precincts compiles by Ipsos pollsters. Its lead over the outgoing ruling coalition had narrowed by Monday morning compared with initial estimates giving its rival, the center-right Civic Platform party, 137 seats, the poll showed.

The election ended the eight-year rule of the Civic Platform party and its junior agrarian ally, a period of uninterrupted economic growth and good relations with Germany but marred by internal struggles and recent scandals within the ruling camp.

Law and Justice rode a wave of popular discontent over low wages and benefits in Poland, promising to raise the minimum wage and increase welfare spending. It also said it would be a more assertive voice within the EU and oppose Germany’s plan for a resettlement of migrants.

The incoming government will be able to rely on support from President Andrzej Duda, the Law and Justice candidate for president who won office in May.

Even if the Law and Justice party gets fewer than 231 seats in the Sejm, it should be able to build a government and rule with support from its antiestablishment ally, Kukiz 15, created by a former rock star, which received 8.7% of the vote and will get 42 seats, according to the newest poll.

Two additional parties have won seats in parliament and are expected to oppose the incoming government.

If the final official results, which are expected on Tuesday, confirm the exit poll data, it will be the first time in decades Poland’s parliament doesn’t have any left-leaning parties in it. The United Left alliance, which included heirs to Poland’s communist party, got too little support to be given seats in the Sejm.