Analysis: Ruling party wins European elections in Poland

Sunday’s election to the European Parliament produced a victory for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) over an electoral alliance centre and centre-left opposition parties which formed the “European Coalition” (KE) in an attempt to win this poll.

PiS topped the poll with 42.4 percent of the vote. The KE was three points behind on 39.1 percent. The only other parties to cross the five percent threshold required to obtain representation where Robert Biedroń’s leftist “Spring” with 6.6 percent and the right-wing anti-EU “Confederation” who polled 6.1 percent.

Ruling party in a good place

PiS will be very relieved and pleased with this result. It must be a very good omen ahead of the general election. The party will feel that the voters have rewarded it for its successful social and economic policies. Its mix of social conservatism coupled with redistributive social policies and staunch defence of Polish sovereignty looks to have prevailed.

This is the first time the party has polled more than 40 percent of the vote. This result is almost five percent higher in terms of share of the poll compared to the general election result in 2015.

Opposition falls short

This was an election the opposition KE really needed to win. The ruling party had been under pressure over the fact that relations between Warsaw and Brussels have been strained. The KE fielded five former Prime Ministers. But it wasn’t enough.

The electoral alliance that was formed for this election may find it hard to stay together now. The Polish People’s Party (PSL) especially may not wish to repeat this coalition in a general election. Questions will also be asked about the leadership of the opposition. Grzegorz Schetyna was instrumental in setting up the KE and will not be able to avoid responsibility for its plight.

The Right still ahead

It is the Left v Right balance that is interesting to watch. Adding together the percentages of the ruling party and the two other right-wing parties standing we have over half of the vote and on the other side if we add what KE managed to get to the scores of “Spring “ and “Confederation” we find that the left has not made any progress on the 2015 parliamentary elections results.

“Confederation” (6.1 percent) looks to have replaced” Kukiz’15” (who failed to get any representation polling 4.1%) as the right-wing alternative to PiS. A far more nationalist and anti-EU alternative at that.

On the left Robert Biedroń’s “Spring” (6.6 percent) looks to have suffered a squeeze to the main opposition KE. Pressure will now grow on Mr Biedroń to consider joining the KE on a united opposition list come the general election this autumn.

Record turnout

43 percent is by far the highest turnout ever in a European election in Poland. In 2014 just over 24 percent turned out. This election has seen that increasing by almost 20 percent. Clearly the strong polarisation between the ruling party and the main opposition together with the fact that a general election is just a few months away have contributed to mobilizing voters.