On October 15, Polish citizens will go to the polls to elect new members of the Sejm and the Senate, the country’s bicameral legislature.

Additionally, a referendum initiated by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party will be held back-to-back with the general election. However, this parallel referendum, promoting the PiS's agenda, is boycotted by the opposition.

So, how is the state of democracy in Poland? This year’s vote is presented as a decisive one, following eight years of rule by the incumbent right-wing nationalist (PiS), with concerns about the fairness of the process expressed both in Poland and abroad.

We invite you to a panel that will take stock of the recent developments in Polish party politics, present the current electoral polls, and discuss the possible coalitions that could emerge after the elections.

Much emphasis will be placed on the role of the Polish diaspora, including Poles in Norway, in influencing electoral outcomes. Our panelists will also attempt to assess the remaining strength of a liberal democratic order and to what extent Poland has drifted towards illiberal positions and a majoritarian democracy.

Our main speaker will be Ben Stanley, an associate professor at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw and an expert on Polish party politics.

The panel will also feature Łukasz Bojarski, PhD research scholar at the Department of Private Law, University of Oslo, working in the project "Judges Under Stress – the Braking Point of Judicial Institutions", who will highlight the rule-of-law situation and the legal side of the electoral process.

The last panelist will be Kacper Szulecki, research professor at NUPI. Szulecki is, together with Ben Stanley and PRIO research professor Marta Bivand Erdal, co-author of a recently published monograph titled External Voting: The Patterns and Drivers of Central European Migrants' Homeland Electoral Participation, which will be presented as part of the panel.

The event will be moderated by Pernille Rieker, research professor and coordinator of NUPI’s Centre for European Studies.

The seminar takes place at NUPI from 13:30 to 15:00. It will also be livestreamed to our YouTube channel. Digital participation does not require registration.