Schroeder congratulates new Polish president

24th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2005, BERLIN/WARSAW - Outgoing German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday congratulated Warsaw's right-wing mayor Lech Kaczynski on winning the run-off ballot in Poland's presidential elections.

24 October 2005

BERLIN/WARSAW - Outgoing German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday congratulated Warsaw's right-wing mayor Lech Kaczynski on winning the run-off ballot in Poland's presidential elections.

In a telegram to Kaczynski, whose Law and Justice Party (PiS) is headed by his twin brother Jaroslaw, Schroeder stressed the importance of positive relations between Germany and Poland, which were also important for Europe.

The Berlin leader wrote that he was convinced that Polish-German ties would develop constructively on the basis of shared goals and in the interest of people in both countries and Europe.

Right-wing politician Lech Kaczynski was officially declared Poland's president-elect Monday as the State Electoral Commission (PKW) confirmed his victory with 54.4 per cent of the vote in Sunday's runoff election against leader of the liberal Civic Platform (PO) Donald tusk who took 45.9 per cent support.

Kaczynski acknowledged Poland's success in pushing through democratic and free-market reforms over the 16 years since it shed communism and its enhanced international status after having joined the NATO defence alliance in 1999 and the European Union just last year.

"But the road ahead of Poland is difficult," the president-elect insisted after the results were made public in Warsaw.

He and his brother's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party which won the September parliamentary election had the hard job of limiting "dangerous" levels of corruption in public life and re-vamping inefficient institutions of state in a bid to rebuild dismally low public confidence in them, he said.

The president-elect also confirmed he wanted "good relations" with Germany, at once Poland's largest E.U. and NATO neighbour and trade partner, but insisted it was natural that Warsaw did not always see eye-to-eye with Berlin.

He also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Warsaw as "soon as possible" to improve bilateral relations recently strained by Warsaw's opposition to Russian and German plans to build a gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea floor thus bypassing Poland.

Commentators in Warsaw and other European capitals have expressed concern that Kaczynski's combative political style and staunch nationalist views may fuel controversy in the international arena.

Kaczynski, 56, made the surprise leap to victory Sunday just weeks after his identical twin brother Jaroslaw led their PiS to triumph in parliamentary elections.

Until Friday, Tusk was ahead in most polls but Warsaw Mayor Kaczynski benefited from the support of populist, agrarian and Catholic nationalist parties rallying votes in small towns and rural areas in Poland's poorer eastern regions.

The Sunday balloting was a runoff between the two top candidates from a first-round vote on October 9 in which Tusk, 48, won with an official result of 36.3 over Kaczynski's 33.1 per cent.

Just under 60 per cent of Poland's near 30 million eligible voters participated, the PKW confirmed Monday.

The election was the fourth presidential ballot since the fall of communism in 1989. The legendary leader of the anti-communist Solidarity trade union Lech Walesa won the first fully democratic ballot in 1990, but lost to ex-communist Aleksander Kwasniewski in 1995.

He went on to win a second term in 2000 and was banned under the constitution from seeking a third term this year in Poland's first presidential election as an E.U. member after its May 2004 accession.

Kaczynski will officially be sworn-in as president on December 23 when Kwasniewski's term in office formally ends. Until then Kaczynski will work as Poland's president-elect without power to make legally binding decisions.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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