Poland’s Law and Justice party has secured a decisive win in the country’s parliamentary elections.
According to exit polls, the conservative opposition party has enough seats to govern alone, with an anticipated 39% of the vote.
Law and Justice’s eurosceptic leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has claimed victory, and the outgoing PM Ewa Kopacz of the centrist Civic Platform party, has admitted defeat.
Law and Justice party has strong support in Poland’s rural areas.
If the numbers suggested by the exit poll are confirmed, it will be the first time since democracy was restored in Poland in 1989 that a single party has won enough seats to govern alone.
“We will exert law but there will be no taking of revenge. There will be no squaring of personal accounts,” said Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
“There will be no kicking of those who have fallen through their own fault and very rightly so.”
Europe’s refugee crisis also proved to be a key topic of debate before the election. While the government has agreed to take in 7,000 refugees, opposition parties have spoken out against the move.
Last week, Jaroslaw Kaczynski was criticized for suggesting refugees could bring diseases and parasites to Poland.
The 66-year-old is not running as prime minister and has instead nominated Beata Szydlo, a relative unknown, as the party’s choice for the post.
However, some observers said Jaroslaw Kaczynski could take on the top job himself in the months to come.
The Law and Justice party is close to Poland’s powerful Roman Catholic Church and has promised increased benefits and tax breaks.
Civic Platform for its part sought closer ties with the EU.
Despite overseeing eight years of impressive economic growth it was beaten into second place and will become the main opposition party.
Only three other parties are projected to win enough votes to get seats in parliament: the Polish Peasants’ Party, and two new groups, a right-wing party led by rock star Pawel Kukiz and Modern Poland, a pro-business party.