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Monday, October 10, 2005

Polish Presidential Elections

Poland went to the polls yesterday to elect a President for a five year term. Donald Tusk, the right-wing liberal economist got more than his closest rival, but not enough to gain an out right majority. Therefore there will be a run-off in two weeks time.
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's free-market enthusiast Donald Tusk won most votes in presidential elections on Sunday, putting him in the leading position for an October 23 run-off against conservative Lech Kaczynski, exit polls showed.

Two exit polls gave Tusk around 38 percent of the vote, a 5 to 6-point lead over runner-up Kaczynski, the Warsaw mayor who campaigned hard on a promise of a "moral revolution" and a return to Christian values in the new member state of the European Union.

Tusk's failure to secure the outright majority some opinion polls predicted a month ago means the race to succeed outgoing leftist President Aleksander Kwasniewski must go to the second round.

Tusk and Kaczynski were well ahead of the other 10 candidates, cementing a swing to the right in Poland after their parties, heirs to the pro-democracy Solidarity movement, trounced the ruling left in parliamentary polls last month.
I have got my fingers crossed for Tusk winning. Poland needs to modernise and fast. It is situated in the most exposed place in Europe. Not keeping up with Germany in 1935-39 was deadly. Cutting down on taxes and the welfare state will allow Poland to really crank it up in Central Europe. As the 6th largest state in the EU, it could become quite influential.

Kaczynski's a little dangerous too. Part of the President's job is to represent the country overseas - Kaczynski's comments about the Russians, while true, are incredibly inflammatory. Someone more diplomatic is essential.

I think I was a little pre-emptive when I said that the parliamentary elections in Poland and given them a goverment while NZ and Germany are still talking. Until the Presidential elections are over, Poland is still under a caretaker goverment (which has been the case since last year, govt tried to resign but was prevented by the President). Basically the two parties that won the elections will not form a coalition until they know which of their candidates gets the Presidency.

Meanwhile the Russian President is visiting Britain. Last week Tony Blair said :
“We want to try to take the relationship between Europe and Russia to a new and more intense level...,” Blair said.
It makes me wonder if they chose last week on purpose. Poland has been trying to get the EU to be far more wary of Russia. But since they are effectively without a government right now, there's not really a lot they can do. The last time Britain and Russia had an intense relationship, it culminated in the Cold War. The Brits tend to seriously underestimate the Russians.
· Linked Article

Posted by Lucia Maria | 10/10/2005 12:41:00 pm


Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Lucyna you're gonna kill me for this but I can't wait to see the headlines when Tusk first meets Trump.

10/10/2005 02:23:00 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

It's a pity becuase Poland were the first to break free from Soviet Control sucessfully.

Hopefully Tusk and the EU will make Poland the next Ireland.

10/10/2005 04:28:00 pm  

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