By Naomi Hamilton O’Donnell
After landmark parliamentary elections took place in Poland last weekend, it looks like a centrist coalition led by former Prime Minister and European Council President Donald Tusk is set to take over government.
The election result brings an end to the eight-year rule of the populist party Law and Justice (PiS). Although this party received the highest number of votes, it is not enough to form a government.
The Civic Coalition party (KO), led by Mr Tusk, had the second highest number of votes and looks set to enter coalition with centre-right party Third Way and the Left party.
The elections in Poland – the fifth highest populated country in the EU – were watched closely by the European Union as Poland has swayed away from the EU in recent years. This result is also important given that Poland shares a border with Ukraine.
Voters in Ireland
Outside of Poland, over 608,000 Polish people in other countries voted in the elections. This includes 23,000 Polish people who voted in Ireland, an increase of almost 10,000 since the last election in 2019.
Wojtek Wrobel set up a polling station in Athlone for Polish people to vote in the elections. He explains how important it is for Polish people in other countries to have access to voting.
“I think it’s quite important for Polish people abroad to vote as most of us still feel a very close bond with Poland,” he says. “Our nationality is Polish and it’s within our right to vote.
“The privilege to vote while abroad gives us the opportunity to have a say in the wellbeing of our country and the next generations.”
He explains that he set up the voting station in Athlone to give Polish residents there easier access to voting.
“I wanted to make voting easier for myself and other Polish people living in Athlone. The closest voting stations are in Galway and Dublin which can be an inconvenience for some. The initiative turned out to be quite needed as 1,700 Polish people voted in Athlone.
“Myself and others involved are hoping to continue the voting station in Athlone in the next voting years as it turned out to be a big success.”