Poland's ruling Civic Platform named parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski as its candidate for president on Saturday, with polls showing he is likely to defeat the incumbent conservative President Lech Kaczynski.
Komorowski, 58, won 68.5 percent of the votes cast by party members in a U.S.-style primary, compared with 31.5 percent for his only rival, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, 47.
Opinion polls have suggested Komorowski, a veteran of Poland's pro-democracy movement of the 1980s, would easily defeat Kaczynski in the election, expected to take place in September or October.
Kaczynski, a strong sceptic of government plans to adopt the euro currency, has used his veto several times to block government bills.
"The presidency is a great challenge and the goal is for Poland to catch up with the countries of the so-called old European Union," Komorowski said at a party convention where the result of the ballot was announced.
In Poland the government wields most of the power while the president has a say on security and foreign policy and can veto laws. If elected, Komorowski is expected to cooperate smoothly with Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
"I know Bronislaw Komorowski will be a good president for all Poles," Tusk told the party convention. "He is a guarantee that this 'war on top' ends."
Komorowski's victory in the Civic Platform ballot had been expected. Sikorski has been a member of the party for less than three years and served in the previous, conservative government of Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw.
Some Poles see Sikorski, an Oxford graduate who has worked in the United States, as too much of an outsider to understand their problems, although his international outlook and connections have earned him support among younger Poles.
Sikorski will continue as foreign minister.
Less than half of the party's 40,000 eligible members voted in the primary, the first of its kind in Poland.
Turnout in Poland's national election traditionally has been low since communism was overthrown 20 years ago, but analysts were surprised that only 47 percent of the members of the pro-business, pro-European Union PO party cast their vote.
Tusk told reporters on the sidelines of the convention that he wanted to alter the rules of the primaries to ensure higher participation in the future.
Poland holds local government elections later this year and a national election next year. Opinion polls show Tusk's PO holding a substantial lead over the main opposition party, the conservative Law and Justice led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 28 Mart 2010, 12:29