Poll winner: I will end Poland's isolation

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Poland's victorious Civic Platform promised to return the country to Europe's mainstream and push for swift adoption of the euro after ousting Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski yesterday.

With 99 per cent of votes counted following Sunday's election, Civic Platform had 209 seats in the 460-seat parliament, with the Law and Justice party of Mr Kaczynski on 166 seats. The Left and Democrats bloc had 53 seats and the Polish Peasants Party claimed 31. One independent deputy also won re-election.

Civic Platform is expected to form an alliance with the moderate, pro-EU Polish Peasants Party, with which it has co-operated successfully at local level and which has a strong rural power base to complement its own urban popularity. Coalition talks will begin this week, with a final decision on 10 November, Civic Platform officials said.

"I am dreaming of the moment when Poland would be the first nation to ratify the EU reform treaty," said Bronislaw Komorowski, the party's deputy leader.

"Our new foreign policy course will give Poland the place that it deserves at the heart of European integration, not on the margins."

Analysts said a record post-communist election turnout of 54 per cent showed that Civic Platform had mobilised young voters who were disillusioned by the insular, reactionary policies of Mr Kaczynski and his identical twin Lech, who is Poland's president.

"Our victory might encourage people to come home," said Civic Platform spokesman Marcin Wysz-kowski. Around 2 million Poles have gone abroad in recent years. They go mainly to find work, but the Kaczynskis also made it hard for them to live here. Their politics of suspicion were very negative and unpopular among young people."

Officials in Brussels, Berlin and Moscow welcomed Civic Platform's victory, while the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he hoped co-operation on Iraq, Afghanistan and plans for a missile defence base in Poland would continue. Civic Platform plans to bring Poland's 900 troops back from Iraq by early next year.