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Polish PM Donald Tusk wins four more years

Centre-right leader Donald Tusk has become the first Polish prime minister since the fall of communism in 1989 to win a second consecutive term following his Civic Platform's election victory, nearly complete results showed today.

With 99 per cent of the votes from yesterday's election counted, Tusk's pro-business party had 39 per cent and its main rival, Jaroslaw Kaczynski's nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party, 30 per cent. Turnout was 49 per cent.

A new party called Palikot's Support Movement also struck a chord with voters by winning 10 per cent over by criticising the powerful Roman Catholic Church and championing causes such as gay rights and legalisation of soft drugs.

Political analysts said yesterday's election result showed democracy had come of age in the country of 38 million people.

"The ruling party and coalition for the first time in Poland's post-communist history has been re-elected and that shows the consolidation of democracy in Poland," said Jacek Raciborski, a political scientist at Warsaw University.

President Bronislaw Komorowski, who is expected to invite Tusk to form a government after the publication of final results tomorrow, said the election results pointed to a swift creation of a new coalition.

Civic Platform (PO) is projected to secure around 206 seats in the 460-member lower chamber, or Sejm.

Its ally, the rural-based Peasants' Party, is on track to win about 30 seats, giving Tusk enough support to rebuild the same coalition that has steered Poland smoothly through the economic turmoil of the past four years.

Tusk is also expected to try to lure moderate members of the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) into a new coalition. The SLD won only about 8 per cent of the vote after losing many younger voters to a new libertarian grouping and its leader Grzegorz Napieralski said he would step down.