Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz rejected what she said were “irresponsible” calls by opposition parties to rerun a local ballot after police ejected protesters from election offices and vote-counting resumed. “I absolutely rule out new elections,” Kopacz said today in an interview on Radio Zet. “The State Electoral Commission wasn’t up to its task, but let’s not confuse institutional failure with election fraud.” Twelve people were detained early today and charged with illegally occupying the electoral commission in Warsaw, police spokeswoman Edyta Adamus said by phone. Another eight protesters may face the same charge, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, Adamus said.
Poland hasn’t been able to establish results of Nov. 16 elections to 16 regional assemblies after a computer failure prevented transmission of precinct returns. After a switch to hand-counting, results of mayoral and city council races have been released. Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Leszek Miller, former prime ministers and leaders of the two biggest opposition parties, said yesterday irregularities have so undermined the election’s legitimacy that a rerun is required.
Exit polls show Poland’s ruling Civic Platform party lost its first election since 2005. Kaczynski’s Law & Justice took 31.5 percent, compared with 27.3 percent for Civic Platform, according to Warsaw-based researcher Ipsos. The Polish Peasant Party, junior coalition partner in the government, won 17 percent, followed by the opposition Left Democratic Alliance with 8.8 percent, Ipsos said.