Sunday, October 23, 2005

It's Kaczynski!


A late swing gives Kaczynski the keys to the Polish presidential palace.

At 20.26 CET, exit polls are showing that the winner of the final round of the Polish presidential election is Lech Kaczynski, from the Law and Justice party. The poll for public television, TVP, showed that Kaczynski polled 53.52 percent, and Donald Tusk of Civic Platform received 46.48 percent.

The margin of error in these exit polls is three percent.

Turnout has been estimated to be around 50 percent, the same as two weeks ago in the first round.

In the first round of the election two weeks ago, Donald Tusk received 36 percent, to Lech Kaczynski’s 33 percent.

Kaczynski has trailed in the polls for the last few weeks behind the freemarket orientated Donald Tusk. But in the final few days he has picked up undecided voters, particularly from rural areas.

Going to the polling booths in support of Tusk today were two ex-presidents: Lech Walesa – who worked closely with Kaczynski, back in the days of the Solidarity trade union – and the outgoing president, and ex-communist, Aleksander Kwasniewski. Also voting for the Civic Platform candidate was the one time presidential candidate in this year’s race, independent, heart surgeon, Zbigniew Religa.

Kaczynski picked up the votes of the populists, Andrzej Lepper of the radical farmer’s union, Samoobrona, and Roman and Marciej Giertych, from the far-right League of Polish Families.

The polling stations closed nearly half an hour later than usual, at 8.25 p.m. due to someone at the station in the town of Legnica not setting their alarm, and arriving late for work this morning. Other election workers, who did manage to get out of bed on time, were left waiting outside a closed polling station at 4.30 in the morning. In the event, in the twenty five minutes that the Legnica polling station had to stay open, only three people voted. The nation had to wait an extra half an hour for three people!

Two men also died at polling stations when casting their votes today.

Full results will be announced Monday afternoon, but ten percent of the votes will be counted by 22.30 CET, Sunday.

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