Polish Election Review 2023

Charting a New Course: Poland’s Election Shakeup

The Polish election held on October 15th brought a wave of change and renewed hope for democracy. Despite challenges posed by state capture, the incumbent ruling party lost its majority. This election marked a pivotal moment in Poland’s history since its return to democracy in 1989.

The election was conducted on an uneven playing field due to the incumbent ruling party’s, Prawo I Sprawiedliwość (PiS), manipulation of state institutions, from state-run media to politicised state administration and the country’s courts. Despite enduring widespread state capture, PiS lost its parliamentary majority.

Although the major opposition party alliance, Koalicja Obywatelska (KO), didn’t secure the largest share of seats, they formed an anti-PiS coalition with Trzecia Droga (TD) and Lewica (Left). Additionally, PiS’s ally, Konfederacja (Konfed), failed to garner enough support to back PiS.

This electoral outcome marked a significant shift in Poland’s political trajectory, promising changes and challenges that will unfold in the upcoming tenure of the new administration.

Our Polish Election Review delves into the election process, government formation, and the expected changes in government direction, highlighting the complex and challenging path ahead for the newly elected coalition as it aims to reverse controversial policies and restore relationships on the domestic and international fronts.

A path forward for the political landscape in Poland

The incoming government’s commitment to social and cultural change, such as addressing the near-total ban on abortion and countering state-sponsored homophobia and Islamophobia, underscores the profound transformation they aim to bring to Poland.

Nevertheless, the challenges are immense, and the expectations of Polish voters are high. The new government will need innovative approaches to implement its ambitious agenda successfully. If they fail to make substantial progress, there’s a genuine risk of a PiS resurgence in the next five years, potentially enabling the continuation of their illiberal state-building agenda.

As Poland enters this new chapter, the world will be closely watching the unfolding developments, recognising that the country’s political direction carries broader implications for the region and Europe as a whole.

In this report:

  • In-depth analysis of this pivotal moment in Poland’s democracy
  • Insights into how the election overcame state capture challenges
  • A roadmap for the nation’s future under a new government

Continued in full report…


Read more: Understand the global political landscape in depth, in this quarters’ Election Guide. 

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