New results from this morning confirm the exit polls from last night. Poland's Law and Justice Party, despite the wailing and screaming of journalists, won a decisive victory.
Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party has won Sunday’s parliamentary election, doing better than when it swept to power four years ago, according to nearly complete results.
According to official results from 91% of constituencies published by the electoral committee on Monday, Law and Justice took 44.6% of the vote, ahead of the country’s biggest opposition grouping, the liberal centre-right Civic Coalition, on 26.7%, and the Left alliance on 12.3%...
[Poland's Law and Justice party increases its majority, by Christian Davis, The Guardian, October 14, 2019]
How did they accomplish this remarkable feat? Answer: They combined economic populism with nationalism.
Since winning elections in 2015, the rightwing populists have embarked on a programme of massive social spending, winning widespread support, especially in smaller towns and the countryside.
The New York Times glumly reported a few days ago:
As Poles vote again this Sunday, that social welfare model lies at the heart of the success of Law and Justice. The party’s unusual blend of nationalist appeals and progressive policy has given it a unique place in Europe, and helps explain why most polls show that it is likely to hang onto power.
Outside Poland, Law and Justice has earned harsh criticism for asserting control over the judiciary in ways some fellow European Union members say is anti-democratic, and for its antipathy toward immigration and environmental policies to combat climate change.
But within Poland, the party has succeeded not merely by playing to the conservatism of its rural and small-town base, but also by attempting to redistribute wealth, so far without the budget-busting giveaways that often accompany populism.
[In Poland, Nationalism With a Progressive Touch Wins Voters, by Marc Santora, October 10, 2019]
Do you see this, you hopeless fools in the Republican Party? Populism doesn't mean waving flags and babbling about Wall Street. It means providing things for the people who actually vote for you.
Poland's conservative ruling party has won four more years in office, beating a pro-European coalition into second place.
"We have victory. Despite a powerful [opposition] front, we managed to win", the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's chief, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is widely seen as the country's de facto leader, announced on Sunday (13 October).
"We are finishing a certain stage: we are starting a new one. It is not easier, maybe more difficult. But I hope that it will be finished with even greater success," he added.
The PiS party "had a real plan ... for courts to stop being the ball and chain of the Polish economy," Zbigniew Ziobro, the PiS justice minister, said.
PiS won the elections to the lower house with 43.6 percent of votes, giving it an outright majority of 239 seats out of 260 under Poland's electoral rules.
It also won 46.2 percent of votes in the upper house, amid a high turnout of more than 60 percent...
PiS also attacked "liberal elites" in its campaign and promised to spend more on welfare.
[Poland's right-wing ruler wins four more years, by Andrew Rettman, EuroObserver, October 14, 2019]
Needless to say, bluechecks on Twitter are appalled.
As expected, the far-right populist Law and Justice government has won reelection in Poland today.— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) October 13, 2019
Democracy in perhaps the biggest success stories in the post-communist world is now in acute danger. And it has wide implications beyond Poland's borders.
In my imaginary Dictionary for Journos, I see the entry for "Democracy" (n.) - A system of government in which people are ruled by journalists and election results don't matter.
It's not all good news for the national conservatives. They appear to have lost control of the Senate, which will complicate their efforts [Poland PiS wins election, but its grip on power is weakened, by Jan Cienski and Zosia Wanat, Politico, October 14, 2019]. Expect opposition politicians in Poland to be crowned "pro-democracy activists" in the Anglophone media.