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Polish liberals vow break with Kaczynski era


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Polish liberals vow break with Kaczynski era after poll blow-out

22/10/2007 12h08

WARSAW (AFP) - Poland's liberal opposition promised a new pro-business, Europe-friendly government Monday after trouncing the Kaczynski twins' ruling conservative alliance in a snap poll.

With 90 percent of ballots counted, opposition leader Donald Tusk's Civic Platform (PO) won a projected 208 seats in parliament, routing the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his identical twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, with 164.

"I thank everyone who ... has helped restore hope among Poles," Tusk, 50, told cheering supporters at his campaign headquarters.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso hailed "the European spirit of the Polish people," following the liberals' victory, underscoring "the importance of Poland's contribution to the European Union".

Meanwhile officials in Moscow said they were optimistic that Warsaw would now reverse its veto on a sweeping EU-Russian partnership deal.

Tusk has vowed to bring home 900 Polish troops serving in Iraq soon.

He has also promised to cut taxes to stoke the already red-hot economy and lure home the more than one million Poles who have moved to Britain and Ireland seeking jobs.

Expatriates as well as young, urban, centrist voters in Poland turned out in droves to end the Kaczynski duo's two-year grip on power. Participation reached almost 54 percent -- the highest level since the communists' fall in 1989.

"The heavy turnout in the cities killed us," PiS strategist Jacek Kurski told rolling news channel TVN24.

PO fell short of its goal of a ruling majority and was expected to form a coalition with the moderate Polish Peasants' Party, which won 35 seats.

Sunday's election was called two years early because of the collapse of PiS' three-party coalition in August. Its erstwhile far-right and populist allies were swept from parliament.

"The heavy turnout in the cities killed us," PiS strategist Jacek Kurski told rolling news channel TVN24.

PO fell short of its goal of a ruling majority and was expected to form a coalition with the moderate Polish Peasants' Party, which won 35 seats.

Sunday's election was called two years early because of the collapse of PiS' three-party coalition in August. Its erstwhile far-right and populist allies were swept from parliament.

Full story, Source: AFP

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And here we have a slightly more cynic view on this:

ONE KACZYNSKI DOWN

Europe Applauds Polish Poll

The Kaczynski brothers have spent two years in Warsaw making other Europeans uncomfortable. Now leaders from the European Union and commentators in Germany hope for a fresh start with Donald Tusk.

The power shift in Warsaw will be good for the European Union and less good for Washington, according to observers around Europe, who seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief that Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was so decisively beaten on Sunday by his opponent Donald Tusk.

Tusk is a free-market man, head of the business-friendly Civic Platform, who has promised to pull Polish troops from Iraq and is widely expected to treat leaders in Europe with more finesse than Kaczynski. "I am confident that there will be fruitful cooperation with the next Polish government," said Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EU Commission, according to Reuters. "I'm pleased by the democratic process in Poland."

The Kaczynski twins, Jaroslaw and his twin brother Lech -- who will serve out his term as president until 2010 -- have steered a stubborn, populist, EU-skeptic course ever since Jaroslaw became prime minister in 2005.

On Monday, Barroso wasn't the only one in Brussels expressing relief. "Poland can now take up its proper position within the EU where it will find goodwill on all sides," said Martin Schulz, head of the Socialist group in the European Parliament according to Reuters. "Poland's future lies in working closely with their European friends rather than adopting anti-European positions at virtually every opportunity.

Full story. Source: Der Spiegel

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