Election boosts Poland’s ruling party

THE election of Bronislaw Komorowski’s as president offered Poland’s pro-business ruling party an opportunity but also a challenge, as it prepared to govern without a hostile head of state.

With parliamentary elections scheduled for late 2011, the Civic Platform party of Komorowski and prime minister Donald Tusk must now show the country whether it can tackle major economic problems, including high debt and unemployment.

“Civic Platform! You now have total power,” the tabloid Fakt declared in large type on its front page yesterday. “Show what you can do – you have a year!”

Komorowski won 53% of the vote to 47% for his rival, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the state electoral commission announced yesterday.

Komorowski has pledged to work with the government closely to support its programme of modernising Poland and trimming the welfare state. Any painful changes could hurt Tusk in next year’s elections. Among reforms the government wants is an increase in the retirement age. Currently women can retire at 60 and men at 65.

The election was held months ahead of schedule because President Lech Kaczynski was killed in a plane crash in western Russia in April.

His identical twin brother, Jaroslaw, a relatively unpopular politician just months ago, won significant support after shedding his combative image and benefiting from a surge of sympathy over the loss of his brother.


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