Poland’s ruling party may have avoided the ouster of Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz after polls showed yesterday’s recall vote fell short of the minimum turnout required. About 26.8 percent of Warsaw’s 1.33 million registered voters cast ballots in the recall referendum, less than the minimum 389,430, or 29 percent, required to validate the measure, according to a late exit poll by Warsaw-based researcher TNS for broadcaster TVN24. Official results will be released by the State Election Commission later today. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his ruling Civic Platform party called on supporters to block the recall by boycotting the referendum. Of those who voted, 95 percent favored recalling Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a deputy chairman of the ruling party who had angered Varsovians with utility-price increases and delays in public works. Her support is dropping as backing for the party, the first to win back-to-back elections since the fall of communism in 1989, dropped below the opposition Law and Justice for the first time in six years.
“We were given a yellow card, we’ve noticed and are taking the appropriate steps,” Andrzej Halicki, head of Civic Platform’s party organization in the greater Warsaw area, said yesterday in an interview on TVN24. “The referendum was used by Law and Justice not to talk about Warsaw issues but to attack Donald Tusk and take the conflict nationwide.”
If the recall were to succeed, the prime minister is required by law to appoint a commissioner to replace the mayor until an election can be held. The percentage of voters planning to take part in the referendum had dropped to 37 percent last month from 63 percent in June, according to TNS.