According to the exit polls, the former national-conservative ruling party PiS has emerged as the strongest force in Poland's regional and local elections. The governing camp was nonetheless able to secure results similar to those in the parliamentary elections last October and retain the mayoral posts in Warsaw and Gdansk. What impact will the results have?

PiS still an opponent to be reckoned with

The local elections are a warning to the Tusk government, Rzeczpospolita writes:

“Although their result confirms that the four-party coalition still has a mandate to govern, the overall results show a certain stagnation of this support and no bonus for past performance. ... If one wanted to summarise the results in one sentence, one would have to say: the ruling majority still has a serious competitor, and the PiS has not yet spoken its last word.”

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Psychologically important

The PiS-affiliated news website wPolityce.pl sees the results as a hopeful sign:

“Securing first place in the elections to the regional assemblies is a major success for PiS both politically and psychologically. It paves the way for success in the European elections, as well as for further victories, including in the presidential and parliamentary elections. In the long run, the process of wear and tear on the current government will accelerate.”

Populists making a comeback?

EXPLAINED: Why Europe’s Shell Production is a Dud
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EXPLAINED: Why Europe’s Shell Production is a Dud

The end of the Cold War significantly scaled back Europe’s shell production capability, and retooling and refurbishing old factories would take time, The Economist reported.

Poland is at risk of following a bad example, Gazeta Wyborcza warns:

“In several countries, more or less broad coalitions were formed that succeeded in ousting the populists from power. But once the enthusiasm subsided after the elections it turned out that they were unable to govern effectively, and the electorate quickly forgot what it was like under their predecessors. ... The first decade of the 21st century saw the return of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy and Viktor Orbán in Hungary. In next year's elections the Czech democratic coalition could lose to the party of populist Andrej Babiš, who wants to be prime minister again. In six months' time, we will see whether the US Democrats succeed in stopping Donald Trump's comeback.”

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