Britain's Poles back liberal presidential victor: results

5th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Polish expatriates voted overwhelming for winning liberal Bronislaw Komorowski in their homeland's presidential election, trouncing conservative Jaroslaw Kaczynski, results showed Monday.

Komorowski won 72 percent of the vote to Kaczynski's 28 percent, electoral commission figures showed.

That contrasted with near-complete national results from Sunday's election giving Komorowski almost 53 percent and Kaczynski, just over 47 percent.

The snap poll was forced by the death of Kaczynski's identical twin, president Lech Kaczynski, in a plane crash in Russia in April.

Komorowski went to London last month on the campaign trial in a bid to woo Polish expatriates and repeat the success of the 2007 general election, when they heavily backed his Civic Platform party which ousted a government led by the Kaczynski twins' eurosceptic Law and Justice movement.

Kaczynski, who was trailing Komorowski in the opinion polls, went to London last week.

Britain is home to a huge community of Poles, whose numbers surged after the country opened its labour market when Poland joined the European Union in 2004.

Estimates range from around 500,000 to one million, according to a variety of British and Polish official sources and Polish community groups.

While the majority live in the London area, Poles have settled countrywide.

Reflecting that, Polish authorities set up 48 special polling stations not only in Poland's London embassy but also in cities from Plymouth in southwest England to Inverness in northern Scotland.

Only a minority of British-based Poles -- 46,032 -- are actually registered to vote there, however.

That is partly because many keep ties to constituencies back home or are simply not interested.

But those who did sign up took their civic duties seriously Sunday: turnout in Britain was almost 96 percent, compared with some 55 percent overall.

© 2010 AFP

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