Polish conservatives unlikely to form government in major blow to European nationalists

Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, center, greets his supporters in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By John Cody
4 Min Read

With 90 percent of votes counted, Poland’s ruling conservative, Law and Justice (PiS) party appears to be faced with an insurmountable mathematical reality. With only 36.39 percent of the vote, a drop of 7 points from its previous national election, the party fell far short of its previous showing.

Even if PiS managed to convince Confederation to form a coalition, that party only has 7.22 percent of the vote, which means the two parties will not have enough combined to overcome their opposition rivals. Confederation, which was polling up to 14 percent not so long ago, already ruled out forming any sort of coalition government with PiS before the elections.

Now, Donald Tusk appears to be set to become Poland’s next prime minister, but there may be some delays. PiS has signaled that it will still try to form a coalition government, and given its first-place finish, the party is likely to have the first shot at doing so. Nevertheless, the Polish People’s Party (PSL), a party seen as the most likely to join forces with PiS, has categorically ruled out forming a government with the conservatives.

Given PiS’ current election showing, it will have 200 seats in the 460-seat parliament. Confederation is set to have approximately 14 seats. Combined, both parties would not reach the required 230 needed to rule.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that “in accordance with the rules of democracy (…) we will certainly try to build a parliamentary majority,” while Zdzisław Krasnodębski, a senior PiS figure, told Radio Nowy Świat that PiS would “start talking with PSL about the possibility of forming a government.”

However, such an outcome appears unlikely. In response to Krasnodębski’s remarks, Miłosz Motyka, a senior spokesperson in the PSL party, responded: “Forget about it. For these lies, for these slanders, for hatred and spitting on all of us, for theft and all the scandals — we will hold you accountable.”

PSL party leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz also reiterated the party’s stance, stating: “I rule out a coalition with PiS. Those who voted for us want a change of government.”

The fall of PiS could mark a major turning point in Europe, with proponents of national and sovereign governments already struggling in the face of relentless attacks from the Brussels liberal elite. Hungary and Poland often worked in tandem in their confrontations with Brussels — either using their veto or at least threatening to use their veto — as a check against the EU’s expansionist efforts in a variety of areas, including foreign policy, immigration, and LGBT issues.

France and Germany have already signaled they are seeking to abolish the national veto in the EU and move toward unanimous voting, which could lead to a substantial reduction in power for national governments within the next year.

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