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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Gap narrows in Polish elections
Lech Kaczynski (left) and Donald Tusk
Lech Kaczynski (left) and Donald Tusk are neck and neck
The Polish presidential election race is heating up as polls on the final day suggest support for the two main contenders is almost level.

A poll for the national news agency PAP put support for both the conservative Lech Kaczynski and free market advocate Donald Tusk at around 50%.

Mr Tusk, of the Civil Platform party, has been the frontrunner until now.

His party was beaten at the last minute by Mr Kaczynski's Law and Justice party in parliamentary elections last month.

Polling agencies PBS and OBOP put Mr Tusk in the lead on Friday, with around 52% of the vote, ahead of Mr Kaczynski's 48%.

But a third agency, PGB, for the news agency PAP, gave Mr Kaczynski slightly more than 50% of the vote, ahead of Mr Tusk for the first time in the campaign.

A run-off was needed after neither candidate achieved the required 50% majority needed for outright victory in the first round.

New republic

Turnout then was just under 50%, prompting former President Lech Walesa to complain that Poles were wasting the reforms he battled for in the 1980s as the leader of the Solidarity trade union.

Mr Tusk's campaign has spoken of the "great opportunity" offered by Poland's entry to the European Union last year.

But Mr Kaczynski focused his attacks on the outgoing government of ex-communists, accusing it of corruption and calling for "moral change".

If elected, he wants Poland to become a new republic, the fourth in its history.

The current president, former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, is unable to stand again, having served the maximum two five-year terms permitted.

Under Poland's constitution, the president has less power than the country's prime minister, but retains a significant say in foreign policy.

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16 Jun 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Poland
13 Jun 04 |  Country profiles

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