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Monday, December 11, 2023

The triumph of the sovereign. “It was women and young people who saved democracy in Poland”

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This is a historic result, achieved by almost 3/4 of Poles. There was no such turnout in any elections in Poland after 1989. Queues and crowds at polling stations were a clear signal that on Sunday we set the bar very high for the coming years.

Record turnout in the history of elections in Poland, supported by dozens of pro-turnout campaigns, hundreds of appeals and incentives to vote. This turnout is a symbol of a civil society that celebrated democracy.

Dominika Lasota is an electoral debutant. Together with the “Wschód” Initiative, she was behind the famous “Cicho jusłem” campaign. Daughters and their mothers went to Poland to appeal to young people – especially voters. – Women just didn’t need a kick. And we understood that they do not want to be pressured or threatened, nor do they want to be told that they will be guilty of something or that they will not do something. Just to show them the sense of this action – explains Zofia Sanejko, “Głos Kobiet” Initiative. Zofia Sanejko, co-creating the “It’s Your Choice” campaign, showed other women that not only do they have plenty to choose from, but that their vote, thrown into the ballot box – along with millions of votes of other women – can be important. – Women saw how much depended on them. They believed in their agency. Not only the manifested one, but the one that is implemented at the ballot box – explains Zofia Sanejko.

Women appeal to women to participate in elections. Their voice mattersRenata Kijowska/Fakty TVN

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The power of women

Nearly 75 percent of women eligible to vote took part in the elections. This is mobilization at a record level so far. Four years ago it was over 10 percentage points less. – It was women and young people who saved democracy in Poland, of which I am incredibly proud – adds Dominika Lasota. The young people did not stay at home this time. There have never been such crowds at the polls – voters aged 18-29 – in Poland, which is over 20 percentage points more than 4 years ago. Turnout among 30- and 40-year-olds is also record high, over 70 and over 80 percent, respectively.

Without the impetus of the young generation, the opposition’s victory would be much more difficult, if not impossible. These are people for whom these were often their first elections. They showed that they are not indifferent to the future of their country. Therefore, the new government can no longer ignore this power.

– This is something that could only be dreamed of – says Zbigniew Janas, an opposition activist in the Polish People’s Republic. He also reminds that the record turnout from 1989, which was almost 63 percent, was not broken in parliamentary elections for the next 34 years. Until now. – Poles understood that these elections were not just about a change of power. Will it be this party or another party? That these are choices between Poland’s development models. Between even a type of civilization. Whether east or west – emphasizes Professor Andrzej Rychard, a sociologist from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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