WARSAW, Poland – Interim President Bronislaw Komorowski appeared to have held off a last-minute surge from the twin brother of the late president, who died in an April plane crash that shocked the country and forced Sunday’s early election.
Exit polls showed Komorowski with a slight edge over Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who essentially conceded defeat in the presidential runoff by declaring before supporters, “I congratulate the winner.”
A poll released Sunday by the TNS OBOP institute predicted Komorowski winning 53.1 percent of the vote, and Kaczynski winning 46.9 percent. A separate poll, by Millward Brown SMG/KRC, shows Komorowski with nearly 52 percent and Kaczynski with just over 48 percent.
Official results based on 95 percent of polling stations reporting appeared to bear out the exit polls. They showed that Komorowski won 52.63 percent of the vote and Kaczynski 47.37 percent, the state electoral commission said early today.
Full results were expected later today.
Komorowski, who wants to smooth the way for the government to continue privatizing state-run companies and trim welfare benefits, didn’t formally claim victory, noting that the votes were still being counted.
“Tonight we open a small bottle of champagne and tomorrow we will open a big bottle,” he said before a jubilant crowd of party members in Warsaw.
An election was originally set for autumn but had to be called early to replace President Lech Kaczynski, who died April 10, in a plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, along with 95 other Poles. “We thank everybody – the more so that it was an unusual campaign, a difficult campaign held in the shadow of catastrophe,” said Komorowski, 58.