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Poland Election: Ruling Law and Justice Party Claims Victory


Poland's governing Law and Justice party (PiS) has claimed victory in Sunday's general election, BBC reports.

Partial results gave the conservative nationalist party more than 40% of the vote, enough to increase its majority in the lower house of parliament.

Main rival the centrist Civic Coalition (KO) had about a quarter of the vote.

PiS has been at loggerheads with the EU over reforms to Poland's judiciary and has also been criticised over its position on gay rights.

"We have victory," jubilant PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told supporters at party headquarters in Warsaw.

"We have four years of hard work ahead. Poland must change more and it must change for the better."

Law and Justice is on course to win the highest percentage of votes since democracy was restored here in 1989.

If the partial result is confirmed, the party would have a slightly increased majority and a strong mandate to continue its socially conservative programme.

Law and Justice has pledged to continue its controversial reform of the judiciary despite opposition from the European Commission, which says the independence of Poland's judges is being eroded. That issue has not dented Law and Justice's popularity.

Instead the party has reaped the rewards of its generous welfare scheme, which has benefitted millions of families. For the first time in years, it has proposed a balanced budget for next year despite economists' warnings that the scheme would ruin public finances.

Law and Justice now has a reputation of a party that delivers on its promises.

Results from 42% of constituencies published early on Monday suggest a slight increase for PiS on the 231 MPs they currently hold in the 460-seat lower house.

Exit polls suggested turnout was more than 60%.




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