Accessibility links

Exit Polls: Poland Headed for Run-off Presidential Election


In Poland, exit polls indicate that a pro-business candidate is leading in Sunday's presidential election, but did not garner enough votes to win outright and avoid a runoff in two weeks.

In the runoff, pro-business lawmaker Donald Tusk will face conservative Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski. About a dozen other candidates also competed in Sunday's first round election.

Both Mr. Tusk and Mr. Kaczynski, who have their roots in the anti-communist Solidarity movement of the 1980s, pledged to fight corruption and what they see

as the continued influence in politics of former communists.

But they differ on their economic programs. Mr. Tusk has made clear he wants a liberal climate, lower taxes and more entrepreneurship in Poland.

His rival, Mr. Kaczynski, a former child actor, hopes to preserve a strong safety net and Roman Catholic values in Poland, the homeland of the late Pope John Paul the Second.

These two Warsaw voters explained their reasons for supporting one or the other candidate.

WOMAN: "I voted Tusk. Donald Tusk was my candidate for president. I think he is a responsible guy. If he can cope with so many troubles that Poland has, with

unemployment, with problems with education, it will be just fine."

MAN: "I voted for Lech Kaczynski, because Poland needs plenty of law and justice, and needs to be very represented on the international arena, namely in the E.U., and relations with Russia have to be put on equal footing."

Although Mr. Kaczynski was trailing in the first round of voting, independent analyst Marek Matraszek says the Warsaw mayor could win in the second round.

"It is true that, many voters of the current left wing candidates will, broadly I think, switch their votes to the right-wing Kaczynski in the second round. Because Kaczynski presents a much more social-oriented, much more interventionist economic policy than does Tusk. And really this people are voting on social and economical issues," Mr.Matraszek says.

Mr. Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice Party won last month's parliamentary elections and is currently trying to form a coalition government with the liberal Civic Platform party of his rival, Mr. Tusk.

Analysts have warned however that the unfinished presidential race may further delay the forming of a government, which they say could lead to further

instability in the largest economy among the 10 E.U. newcomer nations.

The next president will likely oversee Poland's ambitious plan to adopt the euro as its official currency as early as 2009.

XS
SM
MD
LG