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Opposition party ousts Polish leader in election

Mon., Oct. 22, 2007, midnight

WARSAW, Poland – A pro-business opposition party that wants Poland’s troops out of Iraq ousted Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s government in parliamentary elections Sunday, as Poles opted for leadership offering a more cooperative approach to the European Union.

Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform party led with 41.1 percent of the vote after 11 percent of the ballots were counted early today, and exit polls for TVN24 private television showed the party winning 226 seats in the 460-seat Sejm lower house.

That was short of the 231 needed for a majority but close enough for it to join a smaller party to form a government.

Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party got 31.6 percent of the vote and a projected 156 seats, according to partial results and exit polls. Complete results are expected later today or Tuesday.

Both Tusk and Kaczynski favor good relations with the United States, but Tusk argues Poland has not gotten enough from its close ties with Washington and wants the country’s 900-strong detachment in Iraq to come home. Tusk, 50, also says Poland should drive a tough bargain in return for hosting a missile defense base.


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