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Europe

Interim leader Komorowski ahead in Polish presidency race

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-21

Bronislaw Komorowski, Poland’s interim president since the July 4 death of Lech Kaczynski, was slightly ahead of Kaczynski’s brother, Jaroslaw, in Sunday’s presidential poll, early results showed Monday.

AFP - Polish interim president Bronislaw Komorowski was slightly ahead in the first round of a presidential election with 41.22 percent of the vote, early results showed.
  
Sunday's poll was the vote to replace head of state Lech Kaczynski, who died in an air crash.
  
The liberal Komorowski, who is parliamentary speaker, faces a run-off on July 4 against the late leader's twin, conservative ex-premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who was on 36.74 percent with 94.3 percent of votes counted.
  
Centre-left Social Democrat Grzegorz Napieralski scored a surprise 13.7 percent, setting him up as a possible kingmaker. Polls showed two-thirds of his supporters would back Komorowski.
  
"In life, as in football and all sports, it's extra time that's the most difficult," Komorowski, 58, told cheering supporters in Warsaw after exit polls put him ahead late Sunday.
  
"Let's be wide awake and mobilise our strength and all our energy for the final stretch."
  
Kaczynski, 61, urged his camp to brace for the run-off, which pre-election polls suggested he would lose.
  
"The key to victory is faith, the conviction that it is possible and necessary to win. We must win for our homeland, for Poland," he said at his Warsaw base.
  
Seven other candidates each took less than three percent.
  
Polls put turnout at around 55 percent.
  
The ballot came after Lech Kaczynski died on April 10 in western Russia along with 95 others including his wife Maria and top political and military figures, leaving Poland reeling.
  
Their plane was heading to a memorial ceremony for thousands of Polish officers killed by the Soviets during World War II.  
  
The campaign was also overshadowed by floods that killed 24 people and drove thousands from their homes.
  
The election is crucial for the Kaczynskis' eurosceptic conservative Law and Justice party which, after losing power in a 2007 parliamentary election, counted on the president's veto to hamper the liberal government's policies.
  
Victory for Komorowski -- a close ally of Prime Minister Donald Tusk -- would boost their market-friendly Civic Platform party before parliamentary elections due late next year.
 

Date created : 2010-06-21

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