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Polish president signs changes to electoral code into law

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law changes to Poland’s electoral code promoted by the ruling party, presidential aide, Małgorzata Paprocka told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Tuesday.

The changes lower the limit required to form a constituency, from 500 to 200 inhabitants, and offer free transport to polling stations in rural areas where public transport is not available.

In effect, the number of constituencies is planned to increase by approximately 6,000 to around 33,500.

Increasing turnout

According to the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), the changes are aimed at increasing voter turnout, however, the opposition says they are meant to increase PiS’ chances of winning the general election this autumn as the party’s significant support comes from people living in small towns and villages.

The Senate, which is dominated by the opposition, said changes to election rules should not be introduced just months before Poland’s general election, due in the autumn, and appealed to the parliament to scrap the bill.

The lower house rejected the appeal and overturned the Senate’s objection last week ending the legislative process, with the majority of votes coming from the ruling coalition, the United Right, which is led by PiS.

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