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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 4, 2010
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Tusk Gives Up Presidential Bid
February 4, 2010 By W.¯.    
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Prime Minister Donald Tusk, leader of the governing Civic Platform (PO) party, Jan. 28 announced he would not run in this fall's presidential election, causing widespread surprise.

Tusk, who enjoys the highest approval ratings among Polish politicians, said he would stay on as head of the government and press ahead with reforms started by the PO after its victory in the 2007 parliamentary elections.

"This decision requires boldness and farsightedness," Tusk said. "The presidential election is important, but it is more about prestige and honors than effective governing." He added that as prime minister he would be able to carry out a larger number of difficult tasks than as president.

Tusk's declaration left observers wondering who will be the PO's candidate for head of state. Grzegorz Schetyna, head of the PO parliamentary group, said the party would field its contender in several weeks. "A formal decision will be made May 16 at the PO's national convention," Schetyna said. Among potential contenders, he mentioned Bronisław Komorowski, speaker of the lower house of parliament, and foreign minister Radosław Sikorski.

Both Komorowski and Sikorski are well ahead of incumbent president Lech Kaczyński in the polls and they also outperform other contenders, including independent hopeful Andrzej Olechowski and leftist politician Jerzy Szmajdziński.

Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, has also been mentioned as a potential hopeful. However, his term in the European Parliament does not expire until December 2011 and he has ruled out joining the race in Poland.

Kaczyński, asked to comment on Tusk's decision while attending the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said, "It is his decision, I respect it."
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