Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz has conceded defeat in national elections after exit polls showed the conservative Law and Justice party beating out the premier's Civic Platform to win a majority of seats.
Exit polls by public broadcaster TVP and others projected Law and Justice picking up 242 out of 460 seats in the lower house of parliament in the October 25 vote, ousting Civic Platform liberals, who won 133 seats.
Law and Justice members have campaigned on a platform of distrust for the European Union and as an advocate of a strong NATO -- reflecting fears about the intentions of its giant neighbor, Russia. However, the party opposes joining the eurozone, promises more welfare spending on the poor, and wants banks to be subjected to new taxation.
Civic Platform is a pro-market coalition that has held power for the past eight years, overseeing a period of strong economic growth and political stability even during the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and the 2010 plane crash that killed the president and dozens of other state officials.
Election regulators said that, by midday, there was an above-average turnout of voters, which in the past has been less favorable to Law and Justice.
A country of 38 million people, Poland has seen its economy expand by nearly 50 percent in the last decade.
It was the only EU member not to slide into recession after the 2008 financial crisis.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP