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Monday, September 19, 2005

Cimoszewicz bows out

Sejm speaker Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz has pulled out of the presidential race.

Cimoszewicz's withdrawal effectively turns next month's presidential election into a straight fight between two center-right rivals. Civic Platform's (PO) Donald Tusk , the front runner in the campaign, is expected to benefit most from Cimoszewicz's withdrawal.

Cimoszewicz claimed to have been the victim of a smear campaign over an earnings declaration that was widely publicized in the press and other media. The decision also appears to end the scandal-hit ruling Democratic Left Alliance's (SLD) hopes of retaining some power in the approaching twin parliamentary and presidential polls.

"Black propaganda against me has brought results... In protest, I quit the presidential election," Cimoszewicz said.

Pro-EU moderate Cimoszewicz, once favorite to succeed leftist incumbent Aleksander Kwaśniewski in the October 9 vote, has seen his popularity plunge after rivals and the media raised questions about his personal finances.

Cimoszewicz, who has denied any wrongdoing, refused to endorse fellow leftist Marek Borowski, who is still in the race although he has only marginal support.

"Among the remaining candidates, I don't see any person who would be suitable for the post (of president)," he said.

Analysts and politicians say a void on the left is likely to boost support for liberal Tusk, who leads in opinion polls with more than 40 percent, some 20 points ahead of the next contender, conservative Warsaw mayor Lech Kaczyński. Cimoszewicz had slipped to third place.

Some commentators said Tusk could win outright in the first round by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote. Until now most analysts expected the election to be settled in a run-off.

Cimoszewicz had nurtured his image as an independent-minded player, who has stayed clear of the scandals that have engulfed the SLD.

But a parliamentary probe, dominated by rightist deputies, revealed the ex-Foreign Minister failed to declare shares worth zł.500,000 he bought on behalf of his daughter, prompting accusations he tried to hide his share dealings and wealth. Cimoszewicz admitted he made a mistake but fervently denied trying to hide anything. He accused the center-right of blowing the issue out of proportion and using dirty tricks. (Reuters)


Blogger Gustav said...

If he's guilty - is this the reason he was so reluctant to join the campaign?

If he's innocent - isn't it just terrible irony that he was probably reluctant to join the race because he expected just such a smear would occur?

9/19/2005 11:31:00 PM  

Blogger Andrew said...

Well, its gotta be Tusk. Kaczyński seems to be something of a nut. Or maybe Bochniarz can pull it out. : )

9/20/2005 05:59:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Kaczyński seems to be something of a nut

... Just nutty enough to win in Poland?

Let's hope not.

Don't forget Andrew - Parliamentary elections Sunday night.

9/20/2005 06:50:00 PM  

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