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Bronislaw Komorowski wins Polish presidential election

Posted in Europa, Política & Política Externa by Larissa Sauer on 05/07/2010
  • Agencies in Warsaw
  •, Monday 5 July 2010 18.42 BST
  • Article history
  • A surge of sympathy after his twin brother was killed in a plane crash was not enough to propel Jaroslaw Kaczynski to the Polish presidency, as results from Sunday’s election gave a narrow victory to his centre-right rival Bronislaw Komorowski.

    Komorowski won the presidential vote by 53% of the votes to 47% for Kaczynski, according to final results released this afternoon.

    Komorowski was initially hesitant about declaring victory as the count swung back and forth. “Tonight we open a small bottle of champagne and tomorrow we will open a big bottle,” he said overnight.

    The result gives the Civic Platform party control over both government and presidency but the party faces a serious challenge in tackling major economic problems including high debt and unemployment before next year’s parliamentary elections.

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

    Komorowski has pledged to work with the government closely to support its programme of modernising Poland and trimming back the welfare state. Among reforms the government wants is to raise the retirement age. Currently women can retire at 60 and men at 65.

    The election was held months ahead of schedule after 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, made a run for the seat and won significant support toward the end after shedding his once-combative image.

    Memories of the chaotic government Jaroslaw Kaczynski led from 2006-2007 probably helped keep him from victory, but his strong showing has boosted his followers’ hopes that he might strengthen his power in future elections.

    Komorowski’s victory will be welcome news for leaders in Berlin and Brussels. Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a noted nationalist and eurosceptic reluctant to adopt the euro or to cede much sovereignty to the EU. When he was prime minister, his government was often at loggerheads with officials in Brussels.

    Both Kaczynski twins were also suspicious of Germany, and frequently made a political issue of the suffering that Germany inflicted on Poland during the second world war.

    Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, welcomed Komorowski’s election as “a strong pro-European signal”. He said that, in Komorowski, Berlin would have “a strong partner for [its] course of trust and cooperation.”

    Markets welcomed Komorowski’s victory and the Polish zloty strengthened slightly against the euro and US dollar.

    Poland was the only EU country to avoid recession last year, but a sharp slowdown has hammered tax revenues and driven up the budget deficit to 7% of gross domestic product.

    Komorowski, a father of five grown-up children, will be Poland’s fourth democratically-elected president since the fall of communism in 1989.


    Acesso em: 05/07/2010

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