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Poland election: In historic first, PM gets a second term

Poland's election Sunday returned the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk to office, marking the first time since the fall of communism that a party has won a second consecutive term.

By Jaroslaw AdamowskiCorrespondent / October 11, 2011

Prime Minister Donald Tusk (c.) celebrates with Health Minister Ewa Kopacz (r.), as exit polls were published during the election party of Tusk's center-right Civic Platform, in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday.

Alik Keplicz/AP

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Warsaw, Poland

Poland’s Sunday parliamentary elections brought victory to the center-right Civic Platform (PO), reinforcing popular approval of the country's move toward good relations with Germany and Russia alike, as well as further integration with the European Union.

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    Graphic Poland
    (Rich Clabaugh/Staff)

The Civic Platform bested the opposition right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came in second with 29.89 percent of the vote. The final results were announced on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s current coalition partner, the Polish Peoples’ Party (PSL), which represents the interests of the country’s rural population, was ranked fourth with an 8.36 percent share of the vote. As a result, the old-new coalition government will have a majority of 235 seats in the 460-member lower chamber.

"Civic Platform managed to win in all major Polish cities, while Law and Justice lost a number of its rural strongholds,” says Jan Filip Stanilko, an analyst with the Sobieski Institute, a conservative think tank.

Since it came to power in 2007, Mr. Tusk’s government has worked to improve Poland’s relations with its neighbors to the east – Russia – as well as to the west. Civic Platform’s pro-EU stance stood in contrast to the Euroskepticism embraced by the Law and Justice party. The party also repudiated the regional diplomacy of Mr. Kaczynski's prime ministership, during which Warsaw’s relations with Berlin and Moscow became strained.

"I want to thank all Poles for ... confirming that these four years had a profound importance for Poland,” Tusk told crowds of his supporters after the announcement of preliminary results. "During the next four years, we will all share the burden of responsibility for our homeland.”

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