Ex-communists lack outright majority

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

WARSAW, Poland -- Ex-communists from Poland's Democratic Left Alliance succeeded in ousting Solidarity from parliament -- but lack the majority needed to govern alone, preliminary elections results showed Monday.

Exit polls following Sunday's vote indicated the Democratic Left had a 1-seat majority in the 460-seat lower house. But the mood turned grim as new results Monday showed the Democratic Left's victory slip to 219 seats, or 41 percent -- 12 seats short of a majority.

If the party fails to recover in the final tally, expected by Wednesday, the Democratic Left faces a difficult choice of coalition partners, or will have to settle for a minority government with the moral backing of President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a leftist.

The Democratic Left's victory won't mean any big changes in Poland's West-leaning policies.

Party leader Leszek Miller, 55, who is poised to become Poland's next prime minister, has pledged to stay firmly in the NATO alliance and support any military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

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