[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Polish centre-right claim victory
Lech Kaczynski thanks PiS workers for the good result
PiS aims to take the presidential prize too next month
Political parties from the centre-right have secured victory in Poland's parliamentary elections.

With 90% of votes counted, Law and Justice Party (PiS)polled 27%, ahead of the Civic Platform (PO) on 24%.

The vote is being seen as a major snub to the ruling left, who have been hit by scandal and seen unemployment rocket to 18%, highest in the European Union.

The polls are Poland's first since joining the EU in May 2004.

The elections chose the 460-member lower house of parliament while the country will go back to the polls in two weeks to elect a new president.

Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is expected to become Poland's next prime minister.

His identical twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, is running for president.

'A new idea'

Turnout among the 30 million Polish voters was about 40%, compared to 46% at the last election in 2001.

The figure was the lowest in a parliamentary election since the fall of Communism in 1989.

Law and Justice: 27% (152 seats in lower house)
Civic Platform: 24% (133 seats)
Self-Defence: 12% (57 seats)
Democratic Left Alliance: 11% (56 seats)
League of Polish families: 8% (33 seats)
Peasants' Party: 7% (27 seats)
Results for parties with more than 5% share of the vote, from 90% of votes counted

Negotiations over a coalition are expected to begin soon, with the free marketeers of the PO likely to fight for a strong say in a government led by Mr Kaczynski's PiS, which favours tax breaks and greater investment in welfare services.

But any coalition will have much work to do if it is to restore the nation's trust in its politicians, says the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw.

He says the liberal PO, whose flat tax plans made them the favourite party of business, will be the junior partner.

But it looks like they may have to shelve their tax plan because Law and Justice say it will hurt the poor, he adds.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski hailed the result as a victory for the PiS, a point conceded by his PO opponent Donald Tusk.

"We have won as a party, and what's more important we have won as a program, as a certain idea for Poland," Mr Kaczynski said. "We must restore trust in the state, something which has been highly compromised in recent years."

Twin arrangement

Mr Kaczynski said his party would concentrate on building a stable coalition in the weeks before the presidential election.

Civic Platform boss Donald Tusk
PO's Donald Tusk will go up against the PiS for the presidency
He has pledged not to accept the role of prime minister if his brother wins the presidency.

Since the fall of communism in 1989, no Polish government has been re-elected.

The ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) trailed in a disappointing fourth place behind a radical farmers' party, the Self-Defence Party, which won a 12% share.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Marek Belka the party took Poland into the European Union, but has not been ignominiously dismissed from office.

Two others also won seats: the League of Polish Families and the Peasants' Party.

See the centre-right parties celebrate apparent win

Q&A: Polish elections
23 Sep 05 |  Europe
The twins who would lead Poland
16 Jun 05 |  Europe
Polish PM seeks early elections
03 Mar 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Poland
13 Jun 04 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific