Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk enjoyed a strong lead over his conservative rival and predecessor Jaroslaw Kaczynski in parliamentary elections, with his centrist party set to become the first ever in Poland’s post-communist era to win a second consecutive term. That feat underlines the growing political stability in Poland, a central European nation of 38 million whose economy has flourished since it joined the European Union in 2004.
Official results are expected Monday, but exit polls released after Sunday’s voting gave a comfortable lead to Tusk’s Civic Platform, a centrist and pro-European party that has presided over the four years of growth even amid decline elsewhere on the continent.
In another first, a new left-wing party that supports gay rights, the legalization of marijuana and other liberal causes was poised to gain representation in parliament. The party’s quick rise comes amid disillusionment with the established parties, but also seems to be a sign of deepening secular sentiment in this traditionally conservative and Catholic nation.
… Civic Platform leaders indicated Sunday that they were interested in continuing their coalition with the Polish People’s Party, the junior partner of the past four years. The Polish People’s Party is a small farm-based group with conservative social values that favors the interests of farmers. It has 8.2 percent support in the exit poll.