The EU may be able to breathe more easily after exit polls in yesterday’s (21 October) Polish parliamentary elections signalled the end of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s two-year reign, which was characterised by frequent confrontations with other member states.
With turnout above 55%, Poles voted in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in numbers not seen since after the fall of Communism in 1989.
Over 40% of voters favoured the market-oriented, centre-right Civic Platform party, whose leader and likely future Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised to adopt a more moderate foreign policy in order to reverse Poland’s increasing marginalisation.
Tusk also promised during his campaign to enact pro-business reforms such as privatising Poland’s remaining state-owned enterprises and cutting red tape, and Civic Platform has said it wants to adopt the euro in 2012-2013.
Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party received just over 30% of the votes in an election that highlighted some acute generational differences in Poland. Most young people, many of whom have little or no recollection of Communist times, supported the more market-oriented Civic Platform, while many older voters opted for either the Law and Justice Party or the Polish Peasant’s Party, which received almost 10% of votes, according to exit polls.
The official vote count will be released on 22 or 23 October.