The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk appears to have won a second term in office for his centrist, pro-European Civic Platform party in Sunday's elections, a historic first in the country's post-communist era.
One exit poll gave Tusk's party nearly 40 per cent support, well ahead of its main challenger, the conservative Law and Justice party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The poll, by the TNS OBOP institute, showed Kaczynski's party winning 30 per cent of the votes.
A new left-wing party, Palikot's Movement, was in third place with 10 per cent. Led by entrepreneur and maverick lawmaker Janusz Palikot, the party has been the surprise of the election, gaining popularity on promises to fight the power of the Roman Catholic church, support gay rights and legalise marijuana.
"It is amazing that millions of Poles want a secular, friendly, civic and social state," Mr Palikot said.
Mr Tusk's apparent victory comes after four years of impressive economic growth. The country managed to keep growing even in 2009, when the rest of the EU fell into recession.