Poland’s acting president leading close election

Bronislaw Komorowski, Poland’s acting
president, appeared to be heading for victory on Monday in a close presidential
election after hours of uncertainty.

He had 52.6 per cent, while rival Jaroslaw
Kaczynski was on 47.4 per cent, with 95 per cent of votes counted.

Mr. Kaczynski had initially accepted defeat
based on an exit poll, but Mr. Komorowski’s camp remained cautious.

Mr. Kaczynski is the twin of former
President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash with 95 others in April.

This run-off election was held after
neither candidate gained more than 50 per cent in the first round in June.

Poland’s electoral commission says final
results will not be announced until Monday afternoon.

Mr. Komorowski is from the ruling Civic
Platform party, while Mr. Kaczynski represents the main opposition Law and
Justice party.

The election has been dominated by a
catastrophic plane crash. Poland’s first couple – along with other leading
political and military figures – died when their plane came down in Smolensk on
10 April as they flew to attend a memorial ceremony for the World War II Katyn

In an address to supporters earlier on
Sunday evening, Mr. Komorowski appeared optimistic about his chances of victory.

“Tonight we will open a small bottle of
champagne and tomorrow we will open a big bottle,” he said.

“We thank everybody – the more so that it
was an unusual campaign, a difficult campaign held in the shadow of
catastrophe,” he added.

Urszula Gacek, a former senator from the
Civic Platform party, told the BBC’s World Today programme that many voters who
supported the left-wing candidate in the first round had switched their
allegiance to Mr Komorowski in the run-off.

Mr. Kaczynski, who was prime minister in
2006-2007, initially admitted defeat and said the elections were a “great
rehearsal” for regional polls later this year and parliamentary elections in

“We have to continue changing Poland. We
have to continue to be mobilised, we must win,” he said.

Rare stability

He paid tribute to his brother, and others
who died in the crash, saying: “A movement has emerged from their martyrs’

“It was due to the work and service of my
brother that a new quality in Polish public life emerged, a return to value, a
return to patriotism, everyone in the campaign had to adhere to that,” he said.

Mr. Kaczynski is seen to have ridden a wave
of public sympathy after the tragedy and his popularity has grown considerably.

The BBC’s Adam Easton in Warsaw says that
if Mr. Komorowski does win, it will mean a rare period of political stability
for the country, with the prime minister and president from the same party.

Mr. Komorowski’s party favours market
reforms and engagement with Poland’s European Union partners.

As president, he would be unlikely to use
his power of veto over the government’s plans to introduce structural and
economic reforms, our correspondent adds.

Mr. Komorowski won 41.5 percent in the
first round and Mr Kaczynski 36.5 per cent. Eight other candidates were