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Polish president vetoes law on EU Parliament elections

Polish President Andrzej Duda announces that he is vetoing a law on elections to the European Union Parliament that would have benefited large political parties and made it harder for small parties to reach a threshold to get seats, in Warsaw, Poland, on Aug. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- The Polish president on Thursday vetoed legislation on elections to the European Union Parliament that would have benefited large political parties and made it harder for small parties to reach a threshold to win seats.

Andrzej Duda said the legislation would have left "a large number of citizens" without any representation in the European parliament and led to a decline in interest and turnout in European elections.

Under current law, parties must reach a 5 percent threshold to win seats. Duda said the proposed legislation would have raised that to 16.5 percent. On the basis of recent opinion polls, only the country's two biggest parties would win representation and a number of small parties would be excluded.

The ruling nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party, and Civic Platform, a pro-EU party once led by EU Council President Donald Tusk, are the country's two main parties.

Duda hails from Law and Justice, though he is no longer a formal member, and his move set him against his own ideological allies.

He said he was sending the legislation back to parliament for more work.

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