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Europe

Bronislaw Komorowski - the dawn of a new liberal age

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-07-05

The potential for a right-wing Kaczynski dynasty at the helm of Poland has ended with the election of liberal politician Bronislaw Komorowski (photo) and the defeat of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Former President Lech Kaczynski was killed in an air crash.

 

Liberal politician Bronislaw Komorowski, who became the interim Polish head of state by default after the death of Lech Kaczynski in April, has narrowly won the presidential election.

He narrowly defeated the former President’s twin brother Jaroslaw with 52.6% of the vote.

Komorowski was leader of Poland’s lower house of parliament when President Kaczynski was killed in a devastating plane crash in Russia in April.

The 58-year-old, who was formerly the country’s defence minister, is now in a position to push through economic reforms that had been opposed by the right-wing Kaczynski brothers.

The veteran politician, who is the son of an impoverished count, represents his Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO) party, which wants health, media and pension reforms.

Komorowski grew up in a working class suburb of Warsaw and eventually became a professor of history.

Opposition to communist rule

The father of five was involved in politics as far back as the 1970s, when he was arrested for taking part in rallies organised by the anti-communist Solidarity movement.

He was sent to an internment camp in 1981 when Poland was put under martial law.
In 1989, as communism collapsed across Eastern Europe, Komorowski opposed the proposed “round table” rapprochement between the Solidarity movement and Poland’s Communist Party, and boycotted the first (semi-democratic) elections held in July of that year.

Later in 1989, he joined the administration of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who led Poland’s first non-communist government since the Second World War.

Since then Komorowski has held numerous government positions, including as defence minister from 2000-2001.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk now has an important ally in Komorowski, as the PO party attempts to cut Poland’s spiralling deficit without imperilling the economic growth of the biggest country of the former Communist Bloc not to enter recession last year.

His election will be welcome news in both Russia and the EU, where relations had deteriorated under Kaczynskis.

 

Date created : 2010-07-05

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