Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks to the media at the Civic Coalition's election headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, 09 June 2024. EPA-EFE/LESZEK SZYMANSKI

News Vote 24

Polish PM Tusk achieves narrow victory as Right fights back

If Sunday's results were replicated in a national election, the Tusk government would possibly lose power to a coalition made up of PiS and the populist Confederation party.  


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has officially won the country’s European Parliament election.

Official data showed the PM’s Civic Coalition (KO) party managed to secure a narrow victory over its main rival, the Law and Justice (PiS) party, despite the latter group having bettered its expected result in polling.

It is not all good news for the pro-Brussels leader, with support for his coalition partners having slumped on June 9.

If such results were replicated in a national election, the Tusk government would lose power to a potential coalition made up of the PiS and the populist Confederation party.

Tusk’s KO took 37.1 per cent of the votes (21 seats), the PiS won 36.2 per cent (20 seats), with the Confederation party coming third with 12 per cent (six seats).

That result was much narrower than the projections of the exit poll published on the night of June 9, in which KO won 38.2 per cent and the PiS 33.9 per cent.

On election night, Tusk commented on the predicted poor results for his coalition partners, Third Way and the Left, arguing that happened because ”voters want clear messages and accountability for the past and some of our partners were sometimes too ambiguous in their approach”.

Third Way’s vote collapsed, from 14.4 per cent in last autumn’s general election to just 6.9 per cent in the European election. The Left party’s vote fell from 8.6 per cent to 6.3 per cent.

Had this been a general election Third Way would have failed to cross Poland’s 8 per cent electoral threshold.

Still, PiS party officials expressed disappointment that, for the first time in 10 years, they failed to top the vote.

Former prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki told commercial channel Polsat News that the reason for the PiS’ narrow defeat lay in the fact that urban areas — where voters tend to support the KO — had a higher turnout than rural areas where the PiS is dominant.

PiS politicians were quick to seize on problems within the ruling coalition. Adam Bielan MEP on election night told Polsat News that Tusk was “effectively cannibalising his coalition partners”.