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Right-wing party secures victory in Poland's elections

Ewa Kpoacz, current prime minister and opposition party leader, conceded defeat.

By Ed Adamczyk
Right-wing party secures victory in Poland's elections
The Law and Justice Party headed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski won the weekend's national elections. Photo courtesy the Office of the President of Poland/Wikimedia

WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Poland's right-wing Law and Justice Party has won parliamentary elections with an absolute majority in weekend elections.

For the first time since democracy was established in Poland in 1989, a coalition will not be required in parliament. The Law and Justice Party -- comprised of the Conservative and Euroskeptic parties -- captured 39 percent of the vote, an Ipsos exit poll indicated Monday. Incumbent and centrist Civic Platform Party received 23.6 percent.

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Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz conceded defeat, and Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, 66, claimed victory.

The prime minister's position is expected to go to Beata Szydlo, 52, with the possibility Kaczynski will take it in the future.

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"We have won because we have been consistent in facing all the challenges ahead of us and we followed in the footsteps of the late President Lech Kaczynski," Szydlo said at a victory rally. "We wouldn't have won had it not been for the Polish people who told us about their expectations and needs, and who in the end voted for us."

Szydlo's party offered simply phrased improvements for the largely rural part of the population untouched by Poland's economic boom, including higher childcare benefits and tax breaks. It is also aligned with the Catholic Church in this heavily Catholic country, and has proposed an outright ban on abortion. The party also hammered at the Civic Platform's scandals and unfulfilled promises during its eight years in control.

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Law and Justice, distrustful of Germany and of the European Union, places its faith in NATO, and has promised more welfare spending and higher taxes on foreign banks. If the poll numbers are confirmed, the party will have 232 seats in the 460-member lower house of parliament

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