Komorowski wins Polish presidential election .

Reforms ahead, victory boosts financial markets

Bronislaw Komorowski  addresses supporters after exit polls for presidential elections on Sunday. AFP

An exit poll by TVP state television gave Komorowski, who was previously acting president, 53 per cent of the vote against 47 per cent for his rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the right-wing main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS).

Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of President Lech Kaczynski whose death in a plane crash in April precipitated the election, quickly conceded defeat.

The European Union’s largest ex-communist member is the only economy in the 27-strong bloc to have avoided recession last year, but a sharp slowdown hammered tax revenues and drove up the budget deficit to 7 per cent of gross domestic product.

Komorowski, who as speaker of parliament became acting president on Lech Kaczynski’s death, struck a typically conciliatory tone in claiming victory.

“Today democracy has won, our Polish democracy,” the portly moustachioed father of five told supporters. “It is important not to foment divisions but to build a sense of unity.”

Investors had feared a Kaczynski win because of his opposition to spending cuts and privatisation and the likelihood of increased conflict between government and president.
In Poland, the government led by the prime minister sets policy, but the president can propose and veto laws, appoints many key officials and has a say in foreign and security policy.

Lech Kaczynski vetoed several government bills before his tragic death in the plane crash in Russia on April 10.

Sunday’s result will be welcomed in other EU capitals and in Russia because Komorowski backs the government’s initiatives to improve foreign relations that came under strain during Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s short stint as prime minister in 2006-7.

The result was also an impressive one for Kaczynski, who before his brother’s death had the high negative ratings.

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