Poland’s ruling camp, struggling to capture voters’ attention ahead of a parliamentary election in October, suffered an embarrassment on Monday when the country’s electoral committee said voter turnout in a government-backed referendum over the weekend was less than 8%. It was the lowest turnout for any national vote in Poland’s recent history. The referendum was called by former President Bronislaw Komorowski as he tried to salvage his re-election bid in May. It was endorsed by the upper house of parliament, dominated by senators of Mr. Komorowski’s Civic Platform party. The referendum, which cost about $22 million to organize and yet failed to settle any of the key questions raised by politicians, is a blunder in a country where voters have shown fatigue not only with the eight-year-old ruling camp but also the long-established political parties that have governed the country since 1989.
In the referendum, voters were asked to decide if they wanted to change the electoral system to introduce single-member districts in hopes of making the system less partisan; reduce state financing of political parties; and force courts to side with taxpayers when their disputes with tax authorities were in doubt. Voters approved the measures, but the referendum isn’t binding because turnout was so low.
“It’s one big sad lesson for us, mostly for politicians,” said Grzegorz Schetyna, Poland’s foreign minister and a prominent MP of the ruling Civic Platform party.
Full Article: Poland’s Ruling Party Suffers Setback in Referendum – WSJ.