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Poland swings to the right

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Poland swings to the right
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A victory for the conservatives in Poland’s presidential run-off on Sunday confirms a swing to the right for the new EU member.

Law and Justice party leader Lech Kaczynski defeated close-ally turned rival Donald Tusk after campaigning hard on a promise to root out corruption and shore up the welfare state. He paid tribute to his twin brother Jaroslaw, who is also party chairman. “Mister chairman, I report that the mission is accomplished,” he told a cheering crowd. While the Kaczynskis’ Law and Justice party and the pro-business Civic Platform crushed the ruling left in a general election a month ago, neither won a majority. After the two sides fought a tough battle during the election campaign, Kaczynski has now turned to his former rival to form a cabinet. If all goes well, Poland will have a new government by this weekend. The two parties offer contrasting economic programmes. Law and Justice favours more cautious economic reforms. Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform advocates sweeping free-market plans. He is backed by the financial markets, which emphasise the need for fiscal reforms without which Poland will not be able to join the euro. Kazcynski told reporters that a referendum on joining the eurozone could be held by 2010. He takes over from outgoing president Aleksander Kwasniewski on December 23.