The Polish opposition Law and Justice party has defied the opinion polls and is claiming a stunning victory with nearly 40% of the vote according to exit polls, enough to govern alone.
Pre-vote polls suggested it would get around 30%, requiring some tricky coalition-building.
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz will give way to another woman, Beata Szydło, dubbed by some the “iron lady”.
Exit polls suggest the outgoing Civic Platform has crashed to just over 23%.
The result is a stinging reverse for Civic Platform, which delivered an economy that grew by 50% during its eight years in power, but voters instead bridled at EU demands Poland take Syrian refugees, among other things. The country is fiercely Catholic and one of the most homogeneous in Europe, and Law and Justice is Catholic, conservative, and eurosceptic.