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Poland after European elections: Democrats win, but democratic values lose

Either the Polish left will accelerate and offer a new story about itself, show new leaders or leaders - or it will be completely marginalized.
Krytyka Polityczna

Maybe now that there will be a breather from the elections, politicians will be able to take off their populist masks and the KO will finally begin to realize democratic values, the government will get on with governing and the Diet will get on with the work of laws.

We know the results of the euro-election exit poll. According to it, the Civic Coalition won 38.3 percent of the vote, Law and Justice 33.9 percent, the Confederation 11.9 percent, the Third Way 8.2 percent, and the Left 6.6 percent (data behind the IPSOS exit poll for TVN24).

After 10 years, Donald Tusk’s party is back at the top of the podium. Tusk began his speech after the exit poll was announced with this. “I’m so happy,” he said. However, there is no denying that this is a strong political symbol. The October 15, 2023 elections brought a change of power, but nevertheless PiS took first place then, and similarly in local elections.

The most important question, however, is what this means for all of us. Przemek Sadura noted at an election night for Krytyka Polityczna that the return of democratic parties to power has not brought a return of democratic values. The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border does not change, pushbacks have not disappeared, the right to abortion was not there, and still is not there.

The campaign for the Euro-elections, in which we had criticism of the Green Deal or the migration pact by not only Kaczynski, but Tusk and Holownia, showed that Polish politics is shifting towards Euro-skepticism. This was brilliantly described by Jakub Majmurek:

A report by Przemek Sadura also came to similar conclusions, showing that Poles love the EU, but increasingly conditionally. The very good result of the Confederation, which is on the electoral podium, is a clear signal that increasingly strong support can be built on judging the European Union from honor and faith.

It is said that where two fight, there the third benefits. In the case of political polarization, which has been going on in our country for as long as I can remember, this principle does not work. Third Way is losing. On October 15, she gained from the so-called tactical vote – you don’t like Tusk, ok, but if you don’t like Kaczynski, stop him by voting for TD. It worked. Once. With such results for his party, Szymon Holownia needs to come up with some new opening for himself if he still dreams of the presidential seat.

The Left, unfortunately, has consistently lost. Either it will tug and offer a new narrative of itself, show new leaders or leaders – but ones in earnest, who will take the reins and not be exposed as leaders just so that no one will cling to the fact that there are three tenors at the head of the Left anymore – or it will be completely marginalized.

Exit poll says turnout was 39.7 percent. Less than in 2019, but more than in earlier parliamentary elections. The surprise is not there. We are tired of the electoral triad, in which the same faces and the same slogans are perpetually repeated.

Maybe now that there will be a breather from the elections, politicians will be able to take off their populist masks and KO will finally begin to realize democratic values, the government will get on with governing and the parliament will get on with the work of laws. If the mask of a populist hasn’t yet stuck to Donald Tusk’s face, there’s a chance. If it has grown because it paid to scare migrants or subsidize developers for loans taken by people who have nowhere to live, it will only get worse.

Agnieszka Wisniewska

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