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Poland holds regular general elections

October 09, 2011, 12:15 UTC+3

Seven political parties nominated their candidates for the elections

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WARSAW, October 9 (Itar-Tass) — Poland stages on Sunday regular parliamentary elections. Polling stations opened at 07.00 local time and will close at 21.00 all over the country.

The State Election Commission (SEC) reported that 7,035 hopefuls vie for seats at the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament. The seats at the upper chamber – the Senate – are contested by 500 people. All in all, Poles are to elect 460 deputies to the Sejm and 100 senators.

The SEC prepared 25,993 polling stations, with 268 of them being abroad. More than 30 million citizens are invited to the polling stations; however, judging by data of public opinion polls, less than half of Poles will take part in the elections.

Seven political parties nominated their candidates for the elections. Front-runners are the ruling party Civic Platform (CP), led by republican premier Donald Tusk and the opposition Law and Justice (L&J), chaired by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The latest opinion polls showed a small edge in favour of the CP.

The votes of the electorate are also contested by the Polish Peoples’ Party (PPP), Democratic Left Alliance and the Palikot’s Movement, with whose representatives the election winners will evidently have to create a parliamentary coalition. According to poll data, the other two parties – Poland Comes First and Polish Workers Party – will fight only to hurdle the five-percent barrier.

Analysts note that the CP has all chances for a victory which, however, will not be so impressive as four years ago when the party won power for the first time. Nevertheless, in the opinion of analysts, even if “the platform” loses the elections, it will form a government all the same, since the L&J cannot form a coalition with any political party.

Under the Polish Constitution, the country’s president appoints the prime minister to form a government after elections. According to Bronislaw Komorowski, he will entrust this duty to the one who can form a worthy cabinet, although he could not be a winner.

In his turn, Tusk holds an opinion that the mission of forming a cabinet should be entrusted to the head of the winning party. “If anybody wins the elections, he should get a chance to form a coalition and a government,” he said, commenting on a possible victory of his opponents.

Tusk already said that if he were preoccupied with forming a government, a new cabinet would include only five from the present operating heads of departments. Besides, he plans to divide the Ministry of Home Affairs and Administration into two separate departments. “A government will be largely a new one. Changes will affect not only people, but also the very structure and spheres of responsibilities,” Tusk said.

The CP won the last general elections in 2007 with the result of 41.5 percent of the vote. The L&J collected only 32.1 percent. Lacking the absolute majority of votes in parliament and with a strong opposition, the CP had to look for a partner at that time to form a coalition which turned to be the Polish Peoples’ Party, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Economics Minister Waldemar Pawlak.

Besides, the CP scored another victory at the early presidential elections in 2010 whose winner turned to be Bronislaw Komorowski of the same party who outstripped Kaczynski by six percent at the second round of elections.

Following this defeat, the L&J head, seeking to grab the place of his brother (Lech Kaczynski), who died in the air crash near Smolensk, said that he would take revenge at the general elections.


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