Polish voters are heading to the ballot boxes to choose their country's preeminent political party. The incumbent Civic Platform party is looking strong, but there are others in the wings ready to take over.
An incumbent party hasn't won a Polish general election since 1989
Poland is set to determine on Sunday whether Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centrist Civic Platform party remains in power. If it does, it will be the first time one party has won two consecutive terms since 1989.
The backbone of Tusk's campaigning has been on his economic record, having steered the nation of 38 million fairly successfully through the worst of the financial crisis in 2009. He's also appealing for moderation, recalling the political rifts caused by his opponent Jaroslaw Kaczynski's premiership in 2006 and 2007.
"This is a new Poland, requiring cooperation, understanding and unity," he said while campaigning.
'The German card'
Tusk criticized Kaczynski's recent comments about Germany
Kaczynski, head of the conservative Law and Justice Party, made headlines shortly before election day, cautioning his countrymen against German imperialism. Kaczynski has a history of making inflammatory remarks.
"[Tusk]'s a sensitive politician who understands the complexity and historical context of our relations," Marcin Poprawski, lecturer at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan told Deutsche Welle.
"Kaczynski - his advisors and he personally - don't understand this properly," he added. "They love to play the German card shortly before elections for inexperienced Poles who have nothing to do with Germans on a daily basis."
Predicting a victory
The final opinion polls showed Tusk's Civic Platform party leading, though the Law and Justice party was closing the gap. Even if it does win, the Civic Platform party likely won't have enough votes to secure an outright majority.
Third in some polls is a new liberal party, Polikot's Movement, billed as anti-Catholic, supporting gay rights, soft drugs and abortion. The popularity of this party could mean Polikot's Movement will play some part in a coalition government.
Author: Stuart Tiffen (AFP, AP)
Editor: Ben Knight