Poland’s ruling party files six electoral protests

“We are protesting because in these districts a lot of votes were invalid and the differences between the results of the candidates are small,” Anita Czerwińska, Law and Justice (PiS) spokeswoman, told a private radio station RMF FM.

“Due to the large number of invalid votes and the small difference between winners and losers, we submitted a request for recalculation,” she said. However, Ms Czerwińska did not say whether PiS has evidence of any incorrect counting of invalid votes in these constituencies.

Law and Justice wants a recalculation of the votes cast in six constituencies - No. 12 (Toruń) No. 75 (Katowice) No. 92 (Gniezno), No. 95 and 96 (Kalisz) and No. 100 (Koszalin). In each case the number of spoilt ballots exceeded the margin of victory of an opposition candidate.

The Senate is comprised of 100 single member constituencies elected on the basis of a first-past-the-post electoral system. The State Electoral Commission (PKW) certifies the election results, but they can be challenged in the Supreme Court. It is that court which gives a final ruling on the matter.

Based on the election report provided by the National Electoral Commission and its opinion on the protests the Supreme Court decides on the validity of the election. The decision takes the form of a resolution, no later than 90 days after the day of elections.

The PiS spokesman said that the number of invalid votes might have changed the outcome of the election in those areas.

Recounts are not usual in Poland, as the votes are counted in precincts and the protocols sent through to area electoral committees who check the figures before passing them on to the State Election Commission which carries out a final check of the tallies.

The validity of the elections to the Lower House have also been challenged, this time by the opposition radical right “Confederation” party. They claim that the election was distorted by the fact that public TV failed to publish a poll showing “Confederation” crossing the electoral threshold. This, argue the petitioners, reduced the number of votes and seats won by “Confederation”.