Poland’s ruling conservative party poised to win re-election

A man sits on a monument to Poland's late president Lech Kaczynski in downtown Warsaw Poland Friday Oct. 11 2019. He wrapped it in a banner reading 'Where is the Wreckage?' of the plane that crashed in 2010 in Russia killing the presid

Around 91% of the votes have been counted. But he also cautioned that results varying even slightly from the exit poll could mean big changes to the distribution of seats in parliament. The opposition Civic Coalition, comprising the Civic Platform (PO) party formerly led by European Council President Donald Tusk and some smaller liberal parties, came second with 27.4%, according to Ipsos. The conservative agrarian Polish People's Party got almost 9%, while Confederation, a new far-right group that is openly anti-Semitic and homophobic, is set to enter parliament after winning 6.8% of the vote. The final results, which are expected by Tuesday, could shift, as they have in past elections. More than 30 million people in this nation of 37 million are qualified to vote. They cite an erosion of judicial independence, pluralism and minority rights since the party took power in 2015.

If confirmed, the results would mean that PiS can hope for an outright majority of 239 seats in the 460-seat lower house, the Sejm, Poland's main legislative body.

"I voted for democracy, to safeguard the future of my grandchildren", Jadwiga Sperska, a 64-year-old working pensioner and KO supporter, said outside a Warsaw polling station.

The exit poll had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski reacts after the first exit polls during the party's electoral evening in Warsaw, Poland, on October 13, 2019.

Schetyna said his party still hoped for a good result in the Senate and to win presidential elections next year. "We do not have a feeling that we were taking part in an honest struggle, that our opponent is using honest methods".

The left-wing party leaders celebrated their expected return to parliament after failing to get any seats in 2015. It is the first party since the fall of communism to break with the austerity of previous governments, whose free-market policies took a moribund communist economy and transformed it into one of Europe's most dynamic.

Around 1.2 million temporary workers, mostly Ukrainians, plugged a gap left by Poles seeking more lucrative jobs in the West after joining the European Union in 2004.

The PiS has skillfully addressed those concerns with popular programs, including one that gives 500 zlotys (€116, $128) to families per month per child, alleviating poverty for some and giving others more disposable income.

Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has declared victory and said that the positive changes will continue.

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