Accessibility links

Conservative Warsaw Mayor Wins Polish Presidential Election


The right-wing mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski, has won Poland's presidential run-off election Sunday. As Stefan Bos reports for VOA from Budapest, Mr. Kaczynski sounded a conciliatory note in claiming victory, urging the party of his opponent to participate in a new government.

Poland's new president Lech Kaczynski, struggled to calm a crowd of enthusiastic supporters who began shouting his name as soon as the first vote tallies were announced on Polish television.

Mr. Kaczynski said he was pleased with the results, and complimented his rival, Donald Tusk for running a good campaign.

He urged Mr. Tusk's liberal Civic Platform to work with his conservative Law and Justice Party on forming a cabinet.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Tusk admitted his defeat. He told his followers that Sunday's election results showed his party should play a role in a new government.

"I wish to say now when we see each other in this campaign for the last moment that I have most probably lost, but you have won. We have a long way behind us to the moment where almost 50 percent of the electorate depended on our values like freedom and solidarity," Mr. Tusk says.

Mr. Tusk's Civic Platform and Mr. Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party have been in talks to form a government since September when they came in first and second in the parliamentary elections. That election ousted the ex-Communists from power.

Both parties are right of center, support the adoption of the Euro currency by the year 2010 and pledged to fight the corruption that plagued the previous government. But they disagree on how to tackle Poland's social issues.

While Mr. Tusk is more oriented toward market economics and favors a flat tax, Mr. Kaczynski wants a tax system under which high earners pay more, and proposes tax breaks for those with large families. His campaign also stressed Roman Catholic values in the homeland of late Pope John Paul, and opposed abortion and gay rights.


Mr. Kaczynski's victory was music for the ears of his supporters.

WOMAN: "I think that Lech Kaczynski is a good person to deal with a lot of difficulties in Poland."

MAN: "I think he is a very strong man. He knows what he wants, and he sees politics as a service for his country, and nothing else."

But others said they are concerned for the future of democracy because incoming president Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party is lead by his twin brother and as the largest political group in Parliament will also provide the prime minister.

It was one of the reasons why at least some young people voted for Mr. Tusk's Civic Platform.

"My choice is Donald Tusk. There are two main reasons for that. The first reason is that I am more liberal oriented in terms of economic things. That's the first reason. The second reason is that I think it is not a good situation when the country would be governed by the same family. We have a judiciary power we have an executive power and we create bills. If two of these powers are in [the hands of] the same family, I don't think that's a good situation basically."

Mr. Kaczynski will replace President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Communist.

XS
SM
MD
LG