Polish opposition questions election results

AP News
Posted: Nov 23, 2014 7:16 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's main opposition leader suggested Sunday that local election results were falsified and said he will ask his supporters to protest them at a rally Dec. 13.

"We consider (the results) not true and unreliable, simply not to use the word 'falsified," Jaroslaw Kaczynski said.

He spoke a day after Poland's electoral commission released the results of the Nov. 16 elections. There was a delay of several days due to the malfunction of a new computer system.

The results showed Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice party won the popular vote in the election, but due to the mathematics of appointing seats it will take the second largest number of seats in regional assemblies.

The ruling Civic Platform party won the most seats at the level of assemblies.

Those results came as a surprise because exit polls had predicted Kaczynski's party as the clear winner. Based on the exit polls, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz had conceded defeat for her party, while Kaczynski celebrated his party's first victory at the ballot box in nine years.

Adding to a general sense that the elections have been badly bungled, the commission also said that 17.9 percent of the assembly votes were declared invalid. Officials say it was because the ballots were confusing.

"This is a big challenge for Poland, for Polish democracy, because agreeing to such a situation means the change of a social system," Kaczynski said. "It means pushing Poland eastward. It means that in Poland the voting procedures have no real practical significance, that they serve to artificially legitimate the ruling powers."

The members of the electoral commission have all resigned over the computer malfunction. Kopacz acknowledges that the electoral commission failed in its task, but stresses the elections were not rigged.