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The BBC's Ray Furlong
"President Kwasniewski had won an impressive victory"
 real 56k

Monday, 9 October, 2000, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Polish president wins second term
President Kwasniewski
Mr Kwasniewski wants EU membership for Poland
Poland's president, an ex-communist turned social democrat, has easily been elected for a second term, according to the state electoral commission.

Aleksander Kwasniewski, 46, is the first president since the country's transition to democracy in 1989 to be voted in for another term.

Polish presidential election
Aleksander Kwasniewski: 53.90%
Andrzej Olechowski: 17.30%
Marian Krzaklewski: 15.57%
Jaroslaw Kalinowski: 5.96%

Mr Kwasniewski, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) candidate, scored 53.90% of Sunday's vote, official figures showed.

Trailing far behind him was former foreign minister Andrzej Olechowski, who won 17.30% of the votes, followed by the ruling AWS-Solidarity coalition's candidate, Marian Krzaklewski.

The leader of the opposition Polish Peasant Party (PSL), Jaroslaw Kalinowski, came in fourth with 5.96 percent of votes.

The remaining seven candidates received less than 4% of the vote between them.

Leszek Miller, head of the SLD, said: "It's a knockout."

EU entry

Andrzej Olechowski: 17% of vote
Mr Kwasniewski, who has been congratulated by the presidents of Russia and Germany, said the biggest challenge of his second five-year term would be to ensure Poland's entry into the European Union.

"Poles must prepare themselves for the European Union to be able to meet this challenge," he told supporters to roaring applause at the electoral headquarters.

Correspondents say that Mr Krzaklewski's poor showing increases pressure for an early general election, due late next year.

Former president Lech Walesa, who led the Solidarity movement that toppled Polish communism, gained less than 1% of votes.


The top issue in the campaign has been Mr Kwasniewski himself.

Nuns vote in presidential election
Voting was brisk
Some opponents have pointed to his communist past, while others have said that as a declared atheist he has no business representing Catholic Poland.

But these issues were also raised five years ago when Mr Kwasniewski narrowly defeated Mr Walesa in a second round run-off.

Correspondents say President Kwasniewski's moderate image is popular with Polish voters.

By contrast, Mr Krzaklewski is fighting for his political life.

Many Poles associate him with deeply unpopular economic reforms, pushed through by the Solidarity-led government, which President Kwasniewski has sharply criticised.


Mr Kwasniewski, who presided over Poland's entry to Nato last year, has said that if the country joins the European Union during his next term of office, he will die a happy man.

Poland is a leading candidate for membership, with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair reaffirming his support in Warsaw this week.

Poland hopes to join the EU in 2003. But Brussels officials say that 2005 is the bloc's earliest realistic expansion date.

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29 May 00 | Europe
Polish crisis as ministers resign
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