The race between the business-friendly Bronislaw Komorowski and the conservative Jaroslaw Kaczynski for Poland's presidency is too close to call ahead of the final round of voting tomorrow, opinion polls show.
Mr Komorowski, candidate of the ruling centrist Civic Platform (PO) who has so far been seen as the frontrunner, is now expected to face a tight run-off against Mr Kaczynski, leader of the right-wing main opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS).
Investors hope Mr Komorowski wins, expecting him to work smoothly with the market-oriented government of the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, in curbing Poland's budget deficit and public debt. Mr Komorowski wants Poland to join the euro.
Victory for Mr Kaczynski, who opposes cutting state spending and privatisation and is sceptical about the euro, would be likely to hit the zloty and bonds, economists say. In Poland, the government sets policies but the president can propose and veto laws.
The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper quoted analysts as saying the two rivals may win half the vote each in the second, decisive round of voting, while others predicted Mr Komorowski would win by between three and six percentage points. But opinion polls in Poland are often misleading and they have tended to underestimate support for Mr Kaczynski.
Touring rural Poland, his main power base, Mr Kaczynski warned against allowing PO, which dominates parliament, to capture the presidency too. "Support for my candidacy means there will be no monopoly of power. Monopolies are dangerous," Mr Kaczynski told a rally.
The election was brought forward after the death of the former president, Mr Kaczynski's twin brother Lech, in a plane crash.