Catholic Party Sweeps Polish Election

by Miles Swigart  •  •  October 27, 2015   

Polish Catholic Law and Justice Party won over socially liberal opponents

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WARSAW, October 27, 2015 ( - The strongly Catholic Law and Justice Party has won the Polish national election.

The Law and Justice Party won in Sunday's general election with 39.1 percent of the vote and 242 seats in the 460-seat Sejm, Poland's lower House of Parliament, unseating the socially liberal Civic Platform party, which received only 23.4 percent of the vote.

While Poland's economy grew by a quarter in the eight years the Civic Platform party was in control, the wealth was spread unevenly, leaving many Polish areas below the rest of Europe's standard of living.

Law and Justice, a nationalist party, exploited this weak point and won on a platform promising lower income tax, cash allowances for poor families with children, rejecting adoption of the Euro as the nation's currency and a hefty promise of 1.2 million new jobs.

It also promises to uphold traditional Catholic values, including opposition to abortion, in vitro fertilization and gay so-called marriage. The party believes the Church should preserve its role as a moral authority and should receive financial support from the state.

Perhaps most controversially, the party believes it should close its borders to the massive hordes of Syrian refugees flooding Europe. The party promises to send financial aid to refugees in Middle East camps, however.

Polish politics are rife with scandal, and Polish voters were displeased with the Civic Platform party's recent scandals, including taped conversations between party members offering views on policy that greatly differed from the views they presented in public.

Polish voters retaliated by voting for the opposite party. Polls showed Law and Justice received most support from older voters, as well as from young voters who have struggled to find economic security.

Not everyone is pleased with Law and Justice's sweeping victory, however, as the party has vowed to stand up to Russian president Vladimir Putin, and to be less politically tied with Germany, Poland's main trade partner.

Members of the European Union (EU) have expressed concern that Poland will be less willing to negotiate and comply with its agendas, especially concerning Law and Justice's firm refusal to welcome Syrian immigrants, an outright rejection of the EU's policy.

The party can be seen as an ally to the United Kingdom's Conservative party, whose Prime Minister, David Cameron, has recently attempted to gain some powers back from the EU, and is set to have a referendum in 2017 that will determine if the UK stays in the EU or not.

With this election result, it is expected that Poland will become more starkly conservative socially and economically, and to take firmer stances and a more prominent role in European and world politics.


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