The once commanding opinion poll lead of Polish presidential candidate Donald Tusk has almost evaporated, according to the latest surveys.
Tusk, a pro-business moderate, is still ahead, but only just, with opinion polls varying between a one and nine per cent lead. That means Sunday’s ballot will probably have to go on to a run-off later in October. The presidential election follows a parliamentary ballot two weeks ago which produced a clear swing to the right. The bid for the presidency is now effectively a two-horse race with Lech Kaczynski. His twin Jaroslav led the Law and Justice party that won the parliamentary elections. The tough-talking conservative is gaining on his opponent in an increasingly hostile fight for the top prize. Kaczynski has attacked Tusk’s Civic Platform as a group of free market zealots, who care only about the rich. Whoever wins will have considerable powers. The President is commander-in-chief of the military, has a say over foreign policy, can propose and veto legislation and nominate prime ministers. There are ten other candidates in the elections. Marek Borowski is a former Deputy Prime Minister who’s now a dissident from the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance, but he only has around 10 per cent support, as does Andrzej Lepper, the leader of the populist Self-Defence party. More than 30 million Poles can vote on Sunday. The turnout is generally higher than for parliamentary elections. Partial results should be available late on Sunday with official results ready within days.