Outcome of Polish elections to effect enlargement process?

According to exit polls, the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) has secured a majority of 41.5 per cent in Poland’s general elections on Sunday, which is not enough to form a single-party government. The leftist alliance has pushed the ruling Christian-Democratic Solidarity block out of parliament.

The Solidarity movement led Poland out of communism, however the Polish voters decided to replace it by the former communists in Sunday’s election. The Solidarity’s four-year rule was marked by corruption, reduced economic growth, high unemployment and a soaring budget deficit.

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), consisting of the Social Democrats and the Union of Labour, could win 221 seats in the 460-seat parliament, exit polls show. The leftist alliance will have to look for a coalition partner amongst a clutch of small opposition parties.

The Peasant Party, which gathered 8.4 per cent of the votes, seems to be the likeliest partner for the SLD. However, the party has a tough position on agriculture and regional aid, which could slow down the enlargement negotiations.

 

According to political observers, the election outcome could damage Poland's prospects of joining the European Union because two anti-EU parties -Self-defence and the League for Polish Families- entered parliament. The insufficient majority for the SLD is another setback because the party will either have to run a minority government or rule in an awkward coalition.

The Self-defence partyplans to use blocking tactics in parliament to promote its anti-EU, anti-globalisation agrarian programme. The League for Polish Families wants to achieve the annulment of Poland's association agreement with the EU.

The Party of European Socialists(PES) in the European Parliament congratulated its Polish member parties on their election victory. PES President Robin Cook said: "Poland is the largest of the candidate countries and this is a real breakthrough for the representation of social democracy in the candidate countries". He added that the PES "will now be able to play a stronger role" in the EU's enlargement process.

 

The final results will be published on Tuesday, 25 September. The SLD revealed its proposed government composition just before the elections, and could form a new government within a week.

 

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