Poland has joined its regional neighbours in shifting to the right after its chief right-wing opposition party Law and Justice returned to power after nearly a decade. The Civic Platform party has conceded defeat although final results will not be made official until Tuesday.
The party, which campaigned on the platform of higher wages and a return to Catholic values, is led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a former prime minister. He is also the twin brother of Lech Kacynski who was president and was killed in a plane crash in 2010.
Politico noted that the results "brings into office another vocally nationalist government in Central Europe from the same political family as Hungary's Viktor Orban." Media reports indicate that Poland will join the ranks of both Hungary and Slovakia in opposing the relocation of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa which could potentially further deepen the rift between Western and Eastern Europe.
Kaczynski, a long-time fan of Orban, has said that Muslim migrants threaten Poland's Catholic way of life and this month he claimed that the migrants would bring new diseases and parasites to Poland.
Although Kaczynski did not run as the party's candidate for prime minister, he is widely expected to be the power behind the scenes, with analysts noting that he was the main speaker at the victory celebrations. The prime ministership will be handed to veteran Beata Szydlo.
"Polish life can be different. We can be proud of it. We will never have to be ashamed of ourselves, as we did many times in the past, through no fault of ours," Kaczynski said.
The New York Times noted that none of the country's left-wing or social democratic parties appeared to have qualified for seats in Parliament for the first time in Poland's post-communist history. With a population of 38 million, Poland is the largest and the most economically vibrant nation in eastern Europe.
Poland has a complex voting system. A party can take control of the government without having to team up with a coalition partner even if has less than 40% of the votes. This however depends on how many of the smaller parties have garnered the 5% vote threshold to secure seats in Parliament.
Only when the official list of those who have been able to cross the 5% threshold, will it become clear whether the Law and Justice party can form a government on its own or whether it will have to hunt for a coalition partner.
The Kukiz'15 party, which was founded by rocker Pawel Kukiz looks set to secure 9% of the total votes while Nowoczesna, founded by former World Bank economist Ryszard Petru is believed to have garnered 7% and the Polish People's Party had 5%. A coalition of left-wing parties The Law and Justice party won the presidency in May, giving the Law and Justice party a firm hold on all the reins of power in EU's sixth most populous country.