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Center-right coalition gains as Polish voters oust left-wing leaders

Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland – Exit polls indicated Polish voters ousted the scandal-prone, left-wing government of Prime Minister Marek Belka in parliamentary elections Sunday, giving a majority to two center-right parties that promise tax cuts and clean government.

An exit poll for Polish government television showed the social conservative Law and Justice Party winning 27.6 percent of the vote and the free-market Civic Platform 24.1 percent. Both parties have roots in the Solidarity trade union movement that toppled communism in 1989-90.

The governing Democratic Left Alliance finished with 11.3 percent.

Law and Justice and Civic Platform have said they will form a coalition government, and government television projections showed them with 303 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament. That is four votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to alter the constitution.

Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski appeared best positioned to become prime minister. But Kaczynski has said he would not stand for the office if his identical twin brother, Warsaw Mayor Lech Kacyznski, wins the presidency in next month’s elections.

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