(Fot. Network.nt)


14 października 2019


Radio Gdansk English Service: Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party have claimed a decisive victory in yesterday’s parliamentary elections

Exit polls by Ipsos late last night show Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) taking 43.6 percent of the vote, with Koalicja Obywatelska (Civic Coalition) in second place at 27.4 percent.

Official results have yet to be formally announced, but the governor of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Dariusz Drelich, celebrated the potential for “an independent majority which would allow [PiS] to continue making positive changes.”

If accurate, the results of the exit poll would see PiS increase its representation in the Sejm with an outright majority of 239 of the 460 seats based on Poland’s system of seat allocation. The centrist Civic Coalition (KO) would remain the main opposition party with 131 seats, Lewica would return to Parliament with 46 deputies, the agrarian Polish People’s Party (PSL) would take 30 seats, and Korwin Mikke’s hard-right Konfederacja would enter the Sejm with 13 seats.

Official results are expected this evening.

Alongside a record turnout within Poland, Poles abroad turned out in droves to vote at Consulates and Embassies around the world.

Users on Twitter and Facebook posted photos throughout the day showing lines stretching out the door of embassies in Sweden, France, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and the UK, with some voters in Sweden reportedly queuing for over an hour, while those in Italy reported waiting up to three hours at the Polish Embassy in Rome.

"I've never seen such crowds here, and I've been voting here for 30 years," claimed Urszula Stefańska-Andreini, president of the Union of Poles in Italy. Electoral commission representatives across the EU estimated that up to four times as many people voted in Polish embassies this year than in the previous parliamentary election.

Election turnout within Poland was estimated at 61.1%, well above the 51% turnout in the last parliamentary elections in 2015 and the average turnout of 48%.

Source: PAP, http://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/173/

Over the weekend, Poles around the country joined tens of thousands of demonstrators across Europe to protest against the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria.

According to France 24, more than 20,000 protestors took to the streets in Paris, with additional protests in Marseille, Bordeaux, and the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. They were joined by thousands of other protesters in Budapest, Vienna, Zurich, London, and Stockholm.

Smaller demonstrations were held in cities throughout Poland, including one in Gdańsk on Saturday in front of the Turkish Consulate and a larger demonstration in Warsaw near Plac Zamkowy. Additional protests in Poland are scheduled later this week in Katowice, Kraków, and Kielce, among others.

Turkey launched its offensive last Wednesday after an announcement by US President Donald Trump that US forces were being withdrawn from the region, a move Syrian Kurds have described as “a stab in the back.” Ankara claims the offensive, codenamed “Source of Peace,” is aimed at militants from the People's Self-Defense Unit (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist group. The US and European nations, however, consider them a valuable ally in the fight against Islamic State in the region.

The YPG has played a decisive role in defeating ISIS in Syria and currently manages detention facilities with thousands of captured ISIS fighters and their families. As a result of the Turkish advance, over 780 relatives of IS militants, many of whom are foreign citizens, escaped from the Ajn Issa camp in northern Syria yesterday.

Source: PAP, France 24

At the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw last night, the Polish national team defeated the North Macedonians 2:0 to secure Poland’s spot in the European Football Championship next summer.

As anticipated, the White and Red dominated their third-placed rivals throughout the game, eventually breaking down the Macedonian defense with two goals by Przemysław Frankowski and Arkadiusz Milik late in the second half.

Following 2018’s poor showing at the World Cup in Russia, there is hope that next summer's European showpiece will provide Poland with a shot at redemption having sailed through the qualifiers with two matches to spare. They join Belgium, Italy and Russia in qualifying for next summer's tournament, with November's upcoming internationals now giving manager Jerzy Brzęczek a chance to experiment against Israel and Slovenia in these final group matches.

Those still needing a football fix can look forward to next Sunday's Tricity showdown between Arka Gdynia and Lechia Gdańsk, scheduled for 3pm in Gdynia.

Today will be mostly sunny and warm with expected highs of 19 degrees centigrade (66 degrees Fahrenheit). Clouds will drift in late in the afternoon accompanied by a gentle breeze from the southwest, with a slight chance of rain overnight and slightly cooler - but still pleasant - weather tomorrow.