By Joseph Willits
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Poland's centre right party, Civic Platform, led by current prime minister Donald Tusk, have won a new four year term. Tusk becomes the first prime minister in Poland to win a second consecutive term since the fall of Communism in 1989.
At present, 93% of the votes in yesterday's election have been counted, with Tusk's Civic Platform securing 39% of the votes, compared to 30% of votes going to the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Following that projection, Civic Platform look set to win 206 out of 460 seats in the lower chamber (Sejm).
Currently, Civic Platform is in a coalition with the Peasants Party, described by Presidential Minister Slawomir Nowak as "the most proven and credible" partner to form the next coaltion, ensuring a majority in the Sejm. The Peasants Party won 8.6% of the vote.
At a time of crisis in the €urozone, markets have welcomed Tusk's victory, symbolic of economic and political unity, in the largest eastern European state of the EU. This morning, the Polish Zloty was 1% up on the €uro. It seems that Tusk's election victory is just reward for his role in ensuring four years of strong economic growth and avoiding recession. Unemployment in Poland has been on the decline for some time, with more opportunities being created. Next year's European football championship is being held in Poland (together with Ukraine) and has meant current infrastructure is being modernised, and new motorways and stadiums being built.
Apart from his economic success, Tusk also campaigned for better relations with Russia. This comes at a time when tension has increased between the two countries have been strained by disagreements over missile defences, gas pipelines, and the way in which the inquiry into the plane crash which killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski has been handled.
Tusk's opponent, Jaroslaw Kaczynski (twin brother of former President Lech Kaczynski) is known for his animosty towards Poland's former WW2 invaders – Germany and Russia. Previously Kaczynski accused Merkel of desiring a "super-power" influence in Poland, and the fact she was Chancellor was not "mere coincidence". Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party, known for being more eurosceptic, sit on the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc of the European Parliament, alongside the Tory party. Tusk's Civic Platform are members of the European People's Party (EPP).
Tusk's re-election is likely to reinforce greater unity with the EU. Although Tusk has overseen economic growth in Poland, the outlook in Europe still remains Gloomy. He told supporters today:
"In these coming four years we will have to work twice as hard, we will have to act twice as fast."