Poles vote for new president in runoff election

July 4, 2010 15:27

WARSAW, Poland— Poles voted in a presidential runoff election on Sunday that pits the identical twin brother of the last head of state, who was killed in a plane crash, against the acting president.

Both men, Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Bronislaw Komorowski, are former anti-communist activists with conservative, Catholic upbringings. Yet they differ sharply on key issues and the outcome of the election is expected to have a significant influence on whether the country pushes through more market reforms or preserves significant welfare benefits.

An election was originally set for the fall but had to be called early to replace President Lech Kaczynski, who died on April 10 in a plane crash in western Russia. The crash also killed his wife Maria and 94 others, including many high-ranking military and government officials.

The first round of voting on June 20 ended with no candidate winning an absolute majority, leading to Sunday's runoff between Komorowski, the acting president and parliament speaker, and Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of Lech.

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