WARSAW, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Poland’s liberal, pro-EU opposition on Monday looked on track to form the next government after official partial results and exit polls showed the ruling nationalists losing their parliamentary majority in the nation’s most pivotal election in decades.
The incumbent Law and Justice (PiS) party has repeatedly clashed with the European Union over the rule of law, media freedom, migration and LGBT rights since it swept to power in 2015. Opposition parties have vowed to mend ties with Brussels and scrap reforms they say have eroded Polish democracy.
A late exit poll by Ipsos published on Monday afternoon gave PiS 36.1% of the vote, which would translate into 196 lawmakers in the 460-seat lower house of parliament.
Opposition parties, led by the former European Council President Donald Tusk’s liberal grouping Civic Coalition (KO), were projected to win a combined 249 seats, with the KO seen winning 31.0% of ballots cast.
Official results after 90% of voting districts had been counted put PiS on 36.4%, KO on 29.7% and its ally the centre-right Third Way on 14.5%. Generally more conservative rural areas and small towns report their results faster than large cities where liberal parties are strongest.