Polish expats queue down the street in Hammersmith to vote in Polish elections

Image above: BBC News journalist Kasia Madera posted this photograph and the comment ‘Long queues at polling stations in west London for Poles in UK to cast their votes in Poland’s parliamentary elections’ in her social media on Sunday.

Ilford in north London one of the places where the largest number of Polish voters registered

POSK, the Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith, was one of the locations for Polish ex-pat voters to cast their vote in the Polish elections. There were queues down the street in Hammersmith as they waited to vote on Sunday 15 October.

By Monday evening Poland’s liberal, pro-EU opposition on looked set to form the next government after early results and exit polls showed the ruling nationalists had lost their parliamentary majority in what are considered the nation’s most pivotal election in decades.

A smiling Donald Tusk declared victory within minutes of the polls closing on Sunday, based on an exit poll. “It’s the end of the evil times, it’s the end of the PiS rule,” he told supporters.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is a right-wing conservative party which had made attacks on the country’s judiciary, LGBTQ+ rights and women’s right to abortion. It has also been reconsidering its position on Ukraine.

More than half a million Poles registered to vote abroad in Sunday’s elections – a record number almost equal to the population of Poland’s fourth-largest city, Łódź.

Polish commentators warned that polling stations overseas could be overwhelmed by the number of voters, and the foreign ministry also issued warning messages to those registering to vote abroad that there may be long queues.

Ilford in east London had 3520 registered votes, making it the tenth largest location for votes registered after Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań, Sulejówek, areas of Warsaw, and another foreign Polish hub, Stavanger in Norway.

BBC News journalist Kasia Madera posted ‘Long queues at polling stations in west London’ in her social media, with a picture of the queue outside POSK. St Gregory’s school in Ealing and the Polish YMCA on Gunnersbury Avenue in Ealing were other west London venues where Poles living in London were able to vote.

The results are expected to be finalised by midday on Tuesday, though it may be some time before a new government is formed, as the PiS still appear to be the largest party and there is some negotiating to be done to form a coalition.

Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central & Acton, has been in Poland as part of the international monitoring team overseeing the election.

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