July 4, 2011 / 1:33 PM / in 6 years

Poland plans parliamentary election on October 9 - president

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s president said on Monday he planned to call a parliamentary election for October 9, with opinion polls showing the ruling centre-right Civic Platform (PO) is tipped to retain power.

<p>Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks at an inauguration ceremony for the Polish assumption of the European Union presidency, in Warsaw July 1, 2011. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel</p>

Surveys show Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s PO is on track to become the first party since Poland overthrew communism in 1989 to win a second consecutive term in power.

“It is my aim to announce a decision that the elections should be held on October 9. I will announce the decision formally at the beginning of August,” Bronislaw Komorowski told a news conference.

Komorowski, a close ally of Tusk although he renounced membership of the PO when he became president, has to call the election for the autumn, but the date had yet to be announced.

Tusk’s poll ratings, now between 34 and 48 percent, have been helped by Poland’s relatively sound economic performance during the global financial crisis.

The prime minister also hopes Poland’s six-month rotating presidency of the European Union assumed last week will further strengthen his team’s chances in the race by demonstrating Poland’s European and global clout to largely pro-EU Poles.

But the PO will likely be forced to seek a coalition to ensure a parliamentary majority to back up the cabinet, surveys show.

Tusk said in the past his current junior partner, the Peasants’ Party (PSL), was his preferred choice, but that may still not provide a majority, forcing PO to seek an alliance with the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).

Tusk’s handling of the economy, as well as Warsaw’s ties with Moscow after a plane crash in Smolensk, western Russia, which killed Poland’s former president and 95 others on board, are likely to become key themes of the campaign, analysts say.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska

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