Poland: Left-liberal opposition may not accept the election results if they lose

Polish political commentator Rafał Woś expresses his fear that the opposition in Poland will likely refuse to accept any election result other than a victory

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Rafał Woś
Poland's main opposition leader Donald Tusk speaks to supporters after taking part in an electoral debate in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The vast majority of people have already decided how they will vote. We still do not know the result of the election, but its outcome is already decided. On Sunday night, all will be revealed. 

All we need now is for the losers of this election to swallow the verdict of the nation. It won’t be easy for them, but it is in the national interest for whoever loses the election to accept the verdict of the people. 

However, the fashion these days is for the losers to start arguing the election was unfair and that they did not really lose it. In Poland, we have avoided such unpleasantries and may that long continue. 

For the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), it is simple.

If they lose, they have to give up power — as they did without any problem back in 2007. For them, the verdict of the people is the key, as they do not believe that judges and the media are more important than voters. For PiS, democracy is about the will of the people and governments honoring their electoral mandates rather than a process by which the establishment takes the decision in courtrooms, lobbies, or boardrooms of international organizations such as the EU.

PiS has been slandered as being authoritarian, but in fact, it is a highly democratic party in the sense that it fully accepts the will of the people. It will play the parliamentary game of attempting to build a majority should it fall short of having the majority it seeks, but it will also accept the tyranny of electoral arithmetic if forming a government becomes impossible.  

I’m more concerned about the state of mind of the opposition led by Donald Tusk.

It calls itself “democratic,” but it treats democracy as just a slogan. The problem with it is its level of frustration that has built up over eight years, in which it has refused to accept the reasons why it lost power in 2015 and learn the lessons. They still do not accept the legitimacy of PiS as a government, even if they accept that it is in office. 

In the last eight years, these people have created their own bubble in which Kaczyński, Prime Minister Morawiecki and President Duda are the worst thing that has happened to Poland for decades. How could voters possibly vote for such “evils”?

Bearing that in mind, my concern is that the opponents of PiS will not accept the result and will claim that the results were falsified, voters were manipulated, and that there is a need for mass demonstrations and for international organizations to take action.

I hope this does not occur, but I cannot rule out this possibility. 

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