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October 22, 2007
Pro-War Polish Premiere Defeated
In a blow to the Iraq War coalition, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his Law and Justice party were trounced by the pro-business Civic Platform party of Donald Tusk:
“It was a battle,” Mr. Tusk told supporters gathered here Sunday night. “We won it. But tomorrow we need to get down to work.” With the departure of Tony Blair in Great Britain and now Kaczynski in Poland, only John Howard of Australia is left of the original major allies who joined the United States in the invasion of Iraq. And Howard finds himself in the political fight of his life, trailing badly against the Labor party who promises to pull Australian troops out Iraq if they are elected in next months contest.
Surveys showed that this election had the highest rate of voter participation since the fall of Communism in 1989. Some polling stations ran out of ballots, which kept several open up to three hours later than scheduled.
Leaders across Europe were likely to be relieved at the ascension of Civic Platform, a pro-Europe party. Under the Kaczynskis, Poland has earned a reputation as a consensus-breaking troublemaker.
On the other hand, the Kaczynskis have been the staunchest of allies of the United States. Mr. Tusk said during the campaign that he would have driven a harder bargain over support of plans to place missile interceptors on Polish soil and that, if elected, he would try to bring home the 900 Polish troops in Iraq.
Outside of Iraq, the Polish results were encouraging in the sense that democracy is alive and well in that country and that Tusk will almost certainly be a staunch ally in almost every other foreign policy initiative made by the US especially on European security issues.
The Poles have finally moved beyond their revolutionary past and, with a good economy and stable society, should take their place among Europe's most important nations.