The Latest: Polish ruling party leader declares victory
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on Poland's general election (all times local): 9:30 p.m. The leader of Poland's conservative ruling party has declared victory in an election after an exit poll showed his party expected to have a majority of seats in parliament.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski noted that the exit poll wasn't the final result, but nonetheless said "we have a victory: despite a powerful front, we managed to win." The Ipsos research agency projected that Law and Justice won 43.6% of the votes, which was projected to translate into an absolute majority of 239 votes in the 460-seat lower house of parliament. The final official results are expected Tuesday.
Kaczynski vowed to continue his party's work, saying it had improved public finances. He said: "We are finishing a certain stage; we are starting a new one. It is not easier, maybe more difficult. But I hope that it will be finished with even greater success."
An exit poll indicates that Poland's conservative ruling party Law and Justice has won the most votes in a general election.
The exit poll conducted by the research firm Ipsos projects that Law and Justice won 43.6% of the votes in Sunday's election to the parliament. Law and Justice has governed Poland since 2015 and is popular for its social conservatism and generous social spending.
The poll projected that a centrist pro-European Union umbrella group, Civic Coalition, was second with 27.4%. The coalition's biggest party is Civic Platform, which governed Poland from 2007-2015.
Other parties that seemed likely to surpass a 5% threshold to get into parliament are a left-wing alliance, which had 11.9% in the poll; the conservative agrarian Polish People's Party had 9.6%; and the far-right Confederation got 6.4%.
The exit poll has a margin of error of several points either way. Official results are expected by Tuesday.
European Union chief Donald Tusk says regardless of political tensions in his native Poland the nation's democracy is "very strong and stable."
A former Polish prime minister, Tusk voted in the country's parliamentary election Sunday in his northern hometown of Sopot.
The ruling populist Law and Justice party was favored to win, buoyed by the popularity of its conservative agenda and generous social spending. It has clashed with the EU over rule of law issues and has tried to discredit its opponents, including the pro-EU Civic Coalition that Tusk is linked with.
Tusk says "it's important that the winner does not try to destroy its opponents, but understood that after a win all political forces need to live side by side."
He hopes the election turnout will be above 50%.
Poles are voting in a parliamentary election that the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party was favored to win, buoyed by the popularity of its conservative agenda and generous social spending.
Concerns about democracy have made Sunday's vote this one of the country's most momentous elections since the fall of communism 30 years ago. Critics fear Poland's illiberal turn could become irreversible if the party wins another four-year term.
More than 30 million voters were choosing lawmakers in the 460-seat lower house of parliament, the Sejm, and in the 100-seat Senate.
Law and Justice is the first party since the fall of communism to break with the austerity of previous governments. Its popular programs include one that gives 500 zlotys ($125) to families per month per child.
Law and Justice is hoping to win a majority of seats Sunday but possible coalition partners, if it needs any, could include two small parties, the conservative agrarian Polish People's Party and Confederation, a far-right group that is openly anti-Semitic and depicts gay people as pedophiles.