Last Sunday’s general elections in Poland have led to a widely expected change of government. After 8 years in power, the liberal-conservative Civic Platform has to step down and must cede its place to the concervative Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) , which has won an absolute majority of seats in the Sejm.
What is more surprising (and by European standards highly unusual) is that Poland is now, after Hungary, the second country of the former Communist bloc in which the political left is completely marginalized. But while in Hungary the left is still represented in Parliament, in Poland it has completely disappeared. The United Left (Zjednoczona Lewica, ZL) did gain 7.6% of the vote – but given its status as an electoral platform (rather than a party in the proper sense) the applicable minimum threshold for it to be admitted into the Sejm was 8%. As a result, it has won no seats.
This means that while there are still five political groups in the Sejm (PiS in government, the other four in opposition), there will be no Communists, no Socialists, no Greens, and no Left-Liberals.
It should be noted that this is the result of a perfectly free and fair democratic election.