Poland is voting for a new president today. The two main contenders are pro-business moderate, Donald Tusk, and traditionalist, Lech Kaczynski. But surveys indicate it is unlikely either will garner enough support to be declared an outright winner – forcing a run-off in two weeks’ time. If that happens, then it looks likely the left and communist vote will hold the sway of power. Analysts believe Tusk is more likely to pick up their support than Kaczynski.
Although he is promising to protect workers’ rights and the welfare state, Kaczynski also advocates a so-called moral renewal. That includes limiting gay rights and reinstating the death penalty – something that would put Poland at odds with the European Union. Tusk is vowing to revitalise the economy by cutting red tape and taxes, saying that is the best way to close the wealth gap dividing Poland and western European states. Whoever wins will have considerable powers. Poland’s president can nominate prime ministers, veto legislation and, in some circumstances, dissolve parliament.