PiS-aligned Duda wins Polish presidential election; right wins in Croatia

At the October 2019 Polish parliamentary elections, the economically left, but socially conservative and anti-immigrant Law and Justice party (PiS) retained its majority in the lower house with 235 of the 460 seats. However, PiS lost its Senate majority, winning 48 of the 100 Senate seats. The lower house is more powerful.

The Polish president can veto legislation, so it is not just a symbolic role. In the June 28 first round of the presidential election, the incumbent Andrzej Duda, who is aligned with PiS, won 43.5%, followed by the Civic Platform’s candidate, Rafał Trzaskowski, on 30.5%.

The Civic Platform is a member of the European People’s Party, the conservative European parliamentary faction. It is more socially liberal than PiS, but to the economic right of PiS.

Genuine left-wing parties have performed badly in Poland recently. They won just 49 of the 460 lower house seats at the October parliamentary elections after being left with zero seats following the 2015 election. In the first round of the presidential election, the only left candidate won a mere 2.2%.

At the July 12 runoff election, Duda defeated Trzaskowski by a 51.0% to 49.0% margin. Duda’s victory means that PiS will maintain control of the Polish government.

Conservatives win easily in Croatia

The Croatian election was held on July 5. Croatia uses proportional representation with multi-member constituencies. The governing conservative HDZ won 66 of the 151 parliamentary seats (up five since 2016), while the centre-left Restart won 41 seats (down four). The far-right DPMS won 16 seats, another conservative party (Most) won eight seats (down five) and the Green-Left party won seven seats.

This was a very disappointing result for Restart, which appeared to narrowly lead in pre-election polls. Popular votes were 37.2% HDZ, 24.9% Restart, 10.9% DPMS, 7.4% Most and 7.0% Green-Left.

76 seats are required for a majority, and HDZ is ten seats short, but they will be able to form a coalition with either the DPMS or Most and other parties.