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Poland's Third Way bloc rules out coalition talks with Law and Justice party

by Martin Fornusek October 16, 2023 9:41 PM 3 min read
Supporters of The Third Way Party celebrate the exit poll results during Poland's Parliamentary elections on October 15, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)
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The centrist Third Way coalition, coming up third in the parliamentary elections, ruled out any talks with the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party on forming a new government, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Oct. 16.

With most of the votes counted, conservative-populist PiS is expected to win the highest number of votes after the Oct. 15 elections but not enough to form a new government on its own.

According to the most recent count results, the Third Way, composed of the agrarian Polish People's Party (PSL) and the Poland 2050 movement, will win a little over 14% of the votes, ending up behind the liberal-centrist Civic Coalition (KO) with around 30%, and PiS with roughly 36%.

"We built our campaign and political positions on criticism of what PiS is doing in the economy, in healthcare, in education, and on how it destroyed our international relations and our position within the EU," PSL's vice president Dariusz Klimczak told PAP.

He added that "there are a million arguments for anybody who is serious in politics not to talk with PiS ever again after what they had done in their two terms (in power)."

When asked whether the Third Way will hold coalition talks with KO and the New Left – the social-democratic, progressive party with around 8% of votes – Klimczak responded that the first meetings will take place "within hours after the official results."

PSL's leader, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, and Poland 2050's vice president, Michal Kobosko, also rejected the possibility of talks with PiS.

With the Third Way's backing ruled out, it is highly unlikely that PiS could secure a majority in the Parliament, having little hope of winning the support of its chief rival, KO, or the progressive New Left. Even if the ruling party managed to ally with the far-right Confederation, which is coming up fifth with around 7%, they would not have enough mandates to form a government.

Donald Tusk, KO's leader, declared victory shortly after the exit poll predicted that the three opposition parties would secure a majority in the Polish Parliament.

He has previously vowed to return Poland on a pro-EU, liberal trajectory and assured Ukraine of continued military and political support.

While the PiS-led government has been a staunch ally of Kyiv since the start of the full-scale invasion, the past few weeks were marked by diplomatic spats and trade disputes over grain imports.

Who’s who in Poland’s election, and where they stand on Ukraine, Russia, EU
Voters in Poland will cast ballots on Oct. 15 in a high-stakes parliamentary election that may return the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to power for a third-straight term, following months of acrimonious campaigning that saw Warsaw’s support for Ukraine emerge as one key point of c…

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