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Polish Ruling Party Expected To Win Elections

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is favored to win another term.
Voting has begun in Poland's general elections, with centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk battling for a second term in office against the conservative opposition.

Opinion polls showed Tusk's centrist and pro-EU Civic Platform party has support from about 35 percent of eligible voters.

But Civic Platform is facing a tough challenge from Law and Justice, the conservative and nationalistic party of former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Opinion polls before the vote showed Kaczynski's party had support from about 29 percent of eligible voters.

Analysts say the vote could determine the future direction of Polish ties with Russia and Germany.

Kaczynski has made several anti-German comments in recent days, while Tusk has worked to improve ties with Russia.

A new anticlerical party that is challenging Poland's powerful Roman Catholic Church has become the election's wild card.

Surveys suggest the Palikot Movement could win more than 10 percent of the vote.

Opinion polls show the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) has support from about 9 percent of voters.

The Polish Peasants' Party (PSL), which is now the junior coalition partner for Civic Platform, was expected to win about 8 percent of the vote.

compiled from agency reports