The big Polish cities voted today in the second round of local elections to opposition parties to the detriment of the candidates of the right-wing nationalist force that governs Poland, Law and Justice.
According to the exit poll of the IPSOS institute, the independent candidate Pawel Adamowicz won Gdansk, while the liberal Bogdan Wenta did it in Kielce and the leftist Jacek Majchrowski won the city hall of Krakow, the three main cities whose government was decided today.
We will have to wait at least until Monday to know the official results of the second round of these local elections, held in 649 municipalities, those in which no candidate had achieved an absolute majority in the first round on 21 October.
The vote is perceived as a first test to measure support for the Law and Justice (PiS), before the 2019 general elections and which has so far remained the leader of all the polls with a conservative and nationalist program based on a defense of traditional values and important public aid.
For the detractors of Law and Justice, this party has begun an authoritarian drift through a series of reforms, including the controversial reform of the judicial system, which have provoked strong criticism from the European Union, which has even opened a procedure of sanction against Poland for this cause.
In the first round of these elections, which also included voting for the different regional assemblies, the PiS won a partial victory with 254 seats in the 16 provincial assemblies, although this nationalist formation also failed to prevail in the big cities.
For its part, the liberal alliance formed by the Civic Platform and Nowoczesna parties obtained on October 21 194 regional deputies, although it conquered the mayors of the main cities of the country without having to attend the second round held today, including Warsaw, Lódz and Poznan.
The results of these elections reflect the deep division that Poland is experiencing, with large cities where liberal voters are the majority, and large rural areas that largely support the ruling party, without their confrontations with the EU or accusations of authoritarianism weakening by now that support.
In fact, a hypothetical departure from Poland of the EU focused the electoral campaign on these local and regional elections, in an intense end of campaign where Law and Justice insisted that it is a Europeanist formation and respectful of the community norms despite its continuous confrontations with Brussels.
Despite his defeat in the main cities, ratified today according to exit polls, the leader of Law and Justice, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, positively assessed the results of his party after the first round, and said that they are "a good omen" "for the generals that will take place next year.
The truth is that compared to the results of the past local and regional elections of 2014, Law and Justice has seen its support in rural areas and small towns grow, while again repeating its defeat in the big cities, of there that Kaczynski speaks of good results.
The nationalist party won with an absolute majority the generals of 2015, becoming the first formation to achieve an absolute majority in the history of Polish democracy.
This result has allowed him to easily implement his controversial reforms and win the support of the most disadvantaged groups thanks to his social assistance policy.
Another element to take into account of these local and regional elections is that the two main liberal parties, Plataforma Ciudadana and Nowoczesna, have shown that they are capable of joining in a coalition against the PiS, a front that could be repeated in the general elections.
This liberal alliance seems to have been a revulsion for the Polish middle class, usually reluctant when it comes to voting in the elections, to the point that the participation recorded in the first round, which exceeded 54%, has been the most High level of local and regional elections in the history of Polish democracy.