Polish PM Tusk’s Civic Coalition seen ahead in EU vote-exit poll

By Barbara Erling

WARSAW (Reuters) -Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s centrist Civic Coalition (KO) was set to win Sunday’s European vote, an exit poll showed, taking a step towards establishing itself as the dominant force in the country after a campaign dominated by security concerns.

With war raging in Ukraine and a migrant crisis on the Belarus border, Tusk framed the vote in Poland as a choice between a safe future in a country at the heart of the European Union or a more perilous one if the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, known for its conflicts with Brussels, won.

“We have shown that our choices, our efforts, have a much broader dimension than just our national issues … we have shown that we are a beacon of hope for Europe,” he told supporters after the exit poll results were announced.

“Those in power in Germany have no reason to be happy, and those in France have reason for dramatic sadness,” Tusk said, adding: “Out of the large countries, Poland has shown that democracy triumphs here”.

According to the IPSOS exit poll, KO won 38.2% of votes, ahead of PiS who had 33.9%. KO’s partners in the pro-European coalition government which took power in December, the centre-right Third Way and the Left, got 8.2% and 6.6% respectively. The far-right Confederation party scored 11.9%.

If confirmed, the result would mark the end of a decade-long run of first-place election finishes for PiS.

PiS says Tusk, a former European Council president, is subservient to Poland’s larger neighbour Germany and accuses him of hypocrisy for criticising tough PiS policies towards migrants on the Belarus border while in opposition before implementing similar measures in government.

Final results are likely to be announced on Monday.

Elsewhere in central and eastern Europe, Romania’s ruling coalition of leftist Social Democrats (PSD) and centre-right Liberals (PNL) won 54% of votes in the European Parliament election in which they ran on joint lists, an exit poll showed.

Exit polls had AUR, a far-right group founded five years ago which opposes migration and military aid for Ukraine, ranked second in European polls, with 14% of votes.

(Reporting by Barbara Erling, Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, Karol Badohal in Warsaw, Luiza Ilie in Bucharest, Editing by Peter Graff and Alexander Smith)


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