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Voting in Poland under way as ruling populist party seeks to make history with third term in power | World News


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Voting has started in a Polish election with the ruling populist party seeking an unprecedented third term in power.

Around 29 million people are eligible to vote with a record 600,000 registered abroad.

The main battle involves two big parties; the governing right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) and the centrist Civic Coalition; with a group of smaller parties behind them.

Campaigning on a tough migration stance, with pledges to strengthen the borders against illegal immigrants, PiS vows greater independence from the European Union (EU) and rejects its relocation plan for migrants and asylum seekers.

The leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS), Jaroslaw Kaczynski delivers his speech during the final rally of campaigning for the parliamentary elections in Sandomierz, Poland, October 13, 2023.
The leader of PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, delivers his speech during the final rally of campaigning for the parliamentary elections

It promises to boost social spending, increase the number of standing army personnel to 300,000 and continue supporting Ukraine in the war – but not at the expense of Poland’s own interests.

Fighting to end their eight years in power, the main opposition, Civic Coalition, includes liberal Civic Platform headed by former prime minister and EU council president Donald Tusk.

They say they’ll dismantle PiS’s judicial reforms, improve relations with the EU, guarantee media freedoms and liberalise the abortion law following a near-total ban on terminations since 2021.

The result could influence the direction of the relations with the EU, which is currently withholding billions of euros in funding due to rule of law concerns.

Supporters of the largest opposition grouping Civic Coalition (KO), attend a meeting addressed by Donald Tusk, the leader of the largest opposition grouping Civic Coalition (KO), in Lodz, Poland, October 10, 2023.
Supporters of the largest opposition group, the Civic Coalition, attend a meeting addressed by party leader Donald Tusk

Voters have between 7am and 9pm on Sunday to cast their votes.

As well as the parliamentary election, Poles have been asked to vote on four referendum questions, ranging from the admission of immigrants to raising the retirement age and selling national assets to foreign entities.

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Shortly after voting ends, the media will announce the first exit polls, which are historically pretty accurate.

The count starts immediately, so the official winner should be clear by Monday or Tuesday.

If neither side can get a majority, they could look to smaller parties to help form a coalition.

For PiS, one option would be to rely on politicians from the far-right Confederation party, although its leaders have previously ruled this out.

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Written by: radioroxi

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