People have begun voting in Poland’s presidential poll. Despite head-to-head TV debates the election looks too close to call. The issue captivating the country is the speed of economic reforms. Donald Tusk, who has the support of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa as well as outgoing president Alexander Kwasniewski, wants to speed them up.
That way he says Poland would catch up with many of the other members of the EU which Poland joined only last year. Tusk says he will mend relations with Germany and Russia as well as anchor Poland firmly within the EU. But his conservative rival Lech Kaczynski wants to slow down the pace of reform. Instead, he wants to boost welfare protections that have been gradually eroded since communist rule ended 16 years ago. Kaczynski also promises a return to Christian values and has pledged to protect the poor and slow down privatisation.