Poland Takes Right Turn

Poland Takes Right TurnPoland Takes Right Turn

Poland’s conservative opposition Law and Justice party has won parliamentary elections, consolidating the country’s rightwing shift.

Exit polls suggest it has enough seats to govern alone, with an anticipated 39% of the vote.

Its euroskeptic leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has claimed victory and the outgoing prime minister, Ewa Kopacz of the centrist Civic Platform party, has admitted defeat.

Law and Justice has strong support in Poland’s rural areas.

If the numbers suggested by the exit poll are confirmed, it will be the first time since democracy was restored in Poland in 1989 that a single party has won enough seats to govern alone.

“We will exert law but there will be no taking of revenge. There will be no squaring of personal accounts,” said Kaczynski. “There will be no kicking of those who have fallen through their own fault and very rightly so.”

Prime Ministerial candidate Beata Szydlo said she was grateful for the support of the Polish people. “We have won because we have been consistent in facing all the challenges ahead of us and we followed in the footsteps of the late president Lech Kaczynski,” she said.

“We wouldn’t have won had it not been for the Polish people who told us about their expectations and needs, and who in the end voted for us.”

Europe’s refugee crisis also proved to be a key topic of debate before the election. While the government has agreed to take in 7,000 migrants, opposition parties have spoken out against the move.

Kaczynski, 66, was not running as prime minister and has instead nominated Szydlo, a relative unknown, as the party’s choice for the post.

However, some observers said Kaczynski–the twin brother of Poland’s late president Lech–could take on the top job himself in the months to come.

Europe’s refugee crisis proved to be a key topic of debate before the election. The outgoing government’s decision to take in 7,000 migrants was strongly criticized by Law and Justice and other opposition parties.

Last week, Kaczynski was criticized for suggesting migrants could bring diseases and parasites to Poland.

Civic Platform for its part sought closer ties with the EU.