Poland consolidated its rightwing shift on Sunday as exit polls showed voters had handed an absolute majority in its parliamentary election to Law and Justice, a Eurosceptic party that is against immigration, wants family-focused welfare spending and has threatened to ban abortion and in-vitro fertilisation. The current ruling party, Civic Platform, conceded defeat following the first exit poll, published by Ipsos moments after polling stations closed at 9pm (8pm GMT), which gave the national conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice party) 39.1% of the vote, putting it far ahead of Civic Platform on 23.4%. Jarosław Kaczyński, Law and Justice’s chairman and the twin brother of Poland’s late president Lech, immediately declared victory. Speaking to supporters at his party headquarters in central Warsaw, a triumphant Kaczynski said: “We will not kick those who have fallen… We need to show that Polish public life can be different.”
If the polling is confirmed, the result would give Law and Justice 242 seats in the 460-member lower house of parliament, meaning the party could govern alone and that its lead candidate, 52-year-old Beata Szydło, is likely to be appointed prime minister.
Distrustful of Germany and the EU, Law and Justice wants more sovereign control and believes a strong Nato hand is required to deal with Russia. The party promises more welfare spending, a lower retirement age and new taxes on foreign banks.
Szydło has also campaigned against the EU forcing member states to accept a set number of refugees from the Middle East and north Africa.