WARSAW     -      Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has won the parliamentary election with 45.2 percent of votes, partial results showed on Monday. Poland’s biggest opposition grouping, Civic Coalition (KO), came second with 26.7 percent support, followed by the leftist alliance, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), with 12.3 percent, according to official results from 83 percent of constituencies published by the country’s electoral commission (PKW).

The bloc of agrarian PSL and anti-system Kukiz’15 was at 8.8 percent, while the far-right Confederation Freedom and Independence got 6.8 percent, based on the partial official results. PiS can also expect a comfortable majority in the Senate, an oversight and review chamber, where 100 senators are elected in a first-past-the-post system, partial data from PKW shows. Final results are expected to be published on Monday evening or on Tuesday.

The election was considered by many commentators as the most important one since 1989, when Poland’s transition to democracy began. The government’s critics fear that yet another term in office for PiS may push Poland further down the path towards illiberal democracy and on a confrontational course with the European Union, especially over its controversial reforms in the judiciary.

However, for many voters, these institutional reforms seem to be less important than the broad social benefits introduced by PiS during its term of office, including the flagship 500 zloty ($125) monthly benefit per child, as well as the party’s attachment to conservative values. The economy has also grown at a buoyant pace in recent years.