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Donald Tusk: Historian vies for victory in Polish election

Historians in the News




Warsaw - He is a historian with a passion for football and come Sunday he hopes to make history by scoring a victory for his opposition liberal Civic Platform (PO) party in Poland's seventh parliamentary election since the demise of communism in 1989.

Just days ahead of Sunday voting, surveys show Donald Tusk's PO is running neck-and-neck with the governing conservative-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Following a slow start to campaigning on the heels of the self- dissolution of parliament on September 7 that triggered the snap ballot, Tusk dominated Kaczynski and left-wing campaign chief ex- president Aleksander Kwasniewski in recent high profile televised debates.

Opinion polls showed Tusk's strong performance boosted his party's chance of victory, but it remains unclear how this will translate on voting day.

Despite the business-friendly PO having lead opinion polls in Poland's most recent September 2005 parliamentary elections, the liberals lost by a narrow 2.9 per cent margin to Kaczynski's PiS.

History repeated itself a month later when despite having won the first round of the October 2005 presidential election, Tusk narrowly lost the second round to Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's identical twin brother.

After the bitter double defeat of 2005, Tusk declared just days ahead of Sunday's election that he is 'ready' to become prime minister. 'Yes, I'm ready, but the answer is not up to me, but voters,' he said in a debate with Kwasniewski.

On the policy front, Tusk has vowed to improve Poland's absorption of generous European Union funding to speed up the construction of much needed basic public infrastructures such as highways.
The business-friendly liberal PO also promises to slash bureaucratic red-tape stifling entrepreneurship and introduce a 15 per cent flat tax.

Read entire article at Monsters & Critics

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