Polish opposition files appeal over claim of ballot irregularities

Poland’s largest opposition bloc said on Tuesday it had filed an electoral appeal over what it suspects were ballot irregularities in some voting districts in the country’s recent parliamentary elections.

Marek Borowski

Marek BorowskiPhoto: PAP/Mateusz Marek

The Civic Coalition bloc, led by the Civic Platform (PO) party, said it wanted the country’s Supreme Court to approve vote recounts in three districts where senators were elected by a narrow margin.

Senator-elect Marek Borowski from the Civic Coalition told reporters that the appeal concerned procedural issues and potentially confusing ballot paper instructions about where exactly voters were supposed to mark an „x” next to their preferred candidate.

The opposition group’s appeal came after Poland’s ruling conservatives a day earlier asked the top court to allow a partial recount of votes in the Senate race.

Anita Czerwińska, spokeswoman for the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, said on Monday that her party wanted votes recounted in some electoral districts due to a large number of invalid votes combined with small differences between candidates.

According to the party’s Krzysztof Sobolewski, Law and Justice’s request for a vote recount in six electoral districts was justified by the fact that the total number of invalid votes there was “higher than the difference between the winning and losing candidates.”

Law and Justice won Poland’s October 13 parliamentary election and secured a second term in power.

It maintained a majority in the 460-seat lower house, but narrowly lost control of the 100-seat upper house, the Senate.

The upper house has power to initiate legislation, and it can also defeat bills approved by the Sejm, the lower house. But the Sejm can override Senate amendments with an absolute majority.

That means an opposition-controlled upper chamber can delay but not stop laws passed by the conservative majority in the lower house.

The Supreme Court has 90 days to rule on the validity of elections.

(gs/pk)

Source: TVP Info, PAP

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