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Cablegate: Lech Kaczynski Elected President of Poland

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: Lech Kaczynski snatched victory in Poland's
presidential election on October 23, in a surprising come
from behind win against Donald Tusk. Elections results will
be announced officially this afternoon, but with well over 90
percent of the votes tallied, Kaczynski secured his election
with a strong showing in the south and east of Poland, and a
whopping 68% of rural votes. Plans for the coalition between
Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party (PiS) and the Civic
Platform (PO) continue today, with the expected announcement
of the government's composition on Friday, October 28. End

Polska "A" and Polska "B"

2. Lech Kaczynski won a solid victory against his PO
opponent, Donald Tusk, gaining 54% of votes cast nationwide.
Splitting the map of Poland in half, Kaczynski won in the
eight eastern and southern provinces of the country, while
Tusk won all eight of the northern and western provinces.
Kaczynski's brand of social conservatism and nationalistic
rhetoric played particularly well in rural areas, where he
gained a stunning 68 percent of the vote. Tusk carried the
cities and younger Poles. Kaczynski won the overwhelming
support (83 percent) of Samoobrona voters from the first
presidential round, whose leader, Andrzej Lepper, urged his
supporters to back PiS. Tusk won many voters on the left but
they did not turn out in high numbers.

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Coalition Partners Begin Concrete Discussions

3. Kaczynski quickly claimed victory after the polls closed
October 23, and Tusk called to offer his congratulations.
Both reiterated their intention to move forward with the
PiS-PO coalition government. With the bitterly fought
campaign finally over, PiS and PO resumed negotiations
October 24 to discuss the composition of their coalition
government. Prime Minister-designate Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz
and PO's Deputy Prime Minister-designate Jan Rokita announced
in a joint press conference that opening talks would focus on
economic issues. Marcinkiewicz said he hoped to announce the
cabinet on Friday, October 28. Kaczynski will assume the
presidency on December 23.

4. Despite wide speculation about various cabinet positions,
Marcinkiewicz has kept quiet with respect to naming specific
individuals in his cabinet, and we believe most positions are
still under negotiation. In his victory speech last night,
Kaczynski suggested that Tusk would be a good choice for
speaker of the Sejm, but on Monday morning Tusk reiterated
that Bronoslaw Komorowski remains PO's candidate. Kaczynski
also said that Elzbieta Jakubiak will be his Presidential
Chief of Staff, following him from the Warsaw mayor's office.

Foreign Policy Implications

5. During the campaign, Kaczynski said that his two first
trips abroad as president would be to the United States and
the Vatican, drawing a sharp distinction with the
Euro-friendlier Tusk. With respect to foreign relations, in
his first comments as President-elect, Kaczynski said that he
wanted a strong working relationship with Germany, but added
that he was concerned over plans to build a center for
Germans expelled from former German territories after World
War II, as well as the proposed pipeline under the Baltic Sea
to transport oil from Russia to German bypassing Poland
entirely. He called for Poland to play an active role in the
European Union, but said he was opposed to the EU
constitution in its current form.

6. Comment: With Kaczynski's victory in the presidential
election, PiS neatly flipped expectations that it would be
the junior partner in ruling Poland. Both PiS and PO
officials were quick to reassure that the coalition would
move forward. In the short term the parties have nowhere
else to turn for any other viable political partners, but PiS
will have a full plate in delivering on campaign promises to
clean up government and maintain Poland's costly social
welfare system, while PO has insisted upon fiscal
responsibility. PiS attacks against the savagery of PO's
"liberalism" resonated with voters, but will make economic
policies particularly tricky to coordinate. Kaczynski already
commented that he wants to play a bigger role in domestic
policy than his predecessor, Aleksander Kwasniewski. After
its twin failures in both parliamentary and presidential
rounds, the long term viability of PO is an open question.

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