Political update: April 7 results from local elections in Poland

Apr 9, 2024, 12:32 PM

Local election results: Ruling coalition wins, but opposition PiS (Law and Justice) remains the strongest party

According to the National Electoral Commission, the ruling coalition of three parties, led by PM Donald Tusk, won with 51.1% in the local Polish elections this Sunday, but the key opposition party, PiS, won the most votes, with 34.27%. Tusk’s KO (CivicPlatform), the most powerful political group in the coalition, is in second place with 30.59% of votes. The Third Way (an alliance of agrarian party PSL and Poland 2050) gathers 14.25%. Right-wing Konfederacja won 7.23% and Lewica (New Left) 6.32%.

Poles voted in elections for the local assemblies (sejmiki) in 16 administrative regions, local councils, and for mayors.

According to the National Electoral Commission, KO won in nine regions while PiS won in seven (mainly in eastern Poland). However, this does not yet mean that parties will govern in these regions. That will be decided by the electoral coalitions.

Compared to the previous local elections, KO gained two regions (it won seven assemblies in 2018) and PiS lost two (it won in nine then).
The turnout rate of 52% was surprisingly low compared with almost 55% in the previous local elections in 2018 and the impressive 72% turnout rate in the parliamentary election in October 2023. This illustrates that only the core electorate of the parties went to the polls.

Local elections were the first electoral test for Tusk's coalition government, nearly four months since they took power. The result clearly shows that PiS – a party which was ousted from power in last year’s parliamentary elections, remains a huge challenge for his coalition.

PM Tusk expected to achieve a much better result and defeat PiS, even though KO scored 1.2 points better than in October’s election. KO is also proud of the overwhelming victory in some major cities - Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Szczecin (candidates won in their first round) and winning in most of the other major cities. Rafał Trzaskowski’s win in the first round in Warsaw with nearly 60% of the vote increases his chances of running in the 2025 presidential election as KO candidate.

Tusk admitted on election night that the road to defeating PiS would not be easy, especially considering the upcoming European elections in June and the presidential elections in 2025.

The results of the local elections are a reflection of the latest parliamentary elections in October, with fairly similar results. The ruling coalition has won most of votes, but the PiS result came as a surprise given the numerous scandals in which the previous government was implicated, and which are extensively covered by the media. It is a warning sign for the coalition ahead of the European elections. The situation may be even more difficult bearing in mind the disappointing result of Lewica (New Left), which is one of 3 partners in the coalition. There are rumours that their position in the government needs to be revised (rumours come mostly from Third Way sources). The alliance is increasingly confrontational in its actions, mainly towards the New Left, which may have an impact on the future of the coalition.