Poland’s Supreme Court may order national referendum to be held again after over 2,000 election complaints

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Thousands of protests against the way the migration referendum was affected by irregularities, involving members of precinct committees discouraging people from participating, have poured into the Polish Supreme Court and may lead to the court ordering the referendum to be held again. 

The referendum was held together with the parliamentary elections on Oct. 15. On that day, there were many reported instances of voters being asked by election officials in the precinct committees whether they wanted to receive the ballot paper for the referendum. 

This was despite specific instructions from the Polish state election authority (PKW), which ruled that no one should be asked whether they wanted to vote in the referendum, and only if the voter concerned refused to take a referendum or a parliamentary ballot paper, that should be marked in the records. 

The fact that many staff members manning the polling stations discouraged voters from participating may have affected the result. The turnout in the referendum was 41 percent and failed to reach the 50 percent threshold required for its results to be binding. 

According to media reports, over 2,000 protests have been lodged with the Supreme Court, and the lion’s share of them concern the behavior of the officials with regard to the referendum ballot. 

The Supreme Court must make its ruling by Dec. 15, and if it rules that the referendum was invalid, it will have to be repeated. 

In that referendum, voters were asked four questions on privatization, the age of retirement, the EU migration pact and the wall on the border with Belarus. 

If the referendum is held again, attaining the required 50 percent threshold will be very difficult given the hostility to the questions of the parties that make up the new majority in the Polish parliament. The only chance to attain the required threshold would be if the re-run of the referendum was combined with the local elections due this spring. 

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