WARSAW // Moderate conservative Bronislaw Komorowski won Poland's presidential election today after a cliffhanger vote that saw his right-wing rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski perform much better than expected. Mr Komorowski's narrow victory will bring relief to investors who feared Mr Kaczynski, the leader of the main opposition party, would veto reforms needed to repair Poland's battered public finances. Mr Komorowski, who hails from the prime minister Donald Tusk's ruling market-oriented, pro-euro Civic Platform (PO), won 52.6 per cent of the vote in Sunday's election, based on 95 per cent of the ballots cast, the election commission said.
Mr Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of president Lech Kaczynski whose death in a plane crash in Russia in April precipitated the election, received 47.4 per cent of the vote, the commission said. Mr Kaczynski, the head of the Law and Justice party (PiS), briefly nudged ahead of Mr Komorowski during the vote counting, hours after he had conceded defeat. But as results rolled in from bigger cities, mostly PO strongholds, Mr Komorowski regained his lead.
In Poland, the government led by the prime minister sets policy, but the president proposes and vetos laws, appoints many key officials and has a say in foreign and security policy. Lech Kaczynski vetoed several government bills before his death. Mr Komorowski's victory could boost the zloty currency today, but economists caution that Mr Tusk's government is unlikely to risk radical fiscal steps before next year's parliamentary election, especially after Mr Kaczynski's strong election showing.