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Poland opposition overtakes ruling party in polls


Poland's conservative opposition beat the centre-right ruling party for the first time in years in two fresh opinion polls released Monday and over the weekend.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski's eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) opposition party -- which has been losing elections to Prime Minister Donald Tusk's Civic Platform (PO) since 2007 -- came out ahead in two separate surveys.

Poland's next European and local elections are scheduled for 2014, followed by the legislative and presidential votes in 2015.

The PiS trumped the PO by three percentage points, scoring 28 percent in a TSN institute survey published Monday.

The poll conducted on a sample of 969 adults between May 11 to 16, showed the PiS had gained four percentage points from April to May.

A second survey, conducted May 9-15 by the CBOS institute gave the PiS 26 percent support, also three points ahead.

"Kaczynski could win the constitutional majority" of two-thirds of lawmakers in parliament, PO vice-president Grzegorz Schetyna warned in an interview published Monday in the Rzeczpospolita daily.

"We need to reshuffle the cabinet and prepare an action plan for 2014 and 2015, to regain voters' confidence," he added.

Weighed down by the eurozone crisis, Poland's economy got off to a weaker than expected start to 2013 with 0.1-percent growth in the first quarter.

The popularity of Tusk's coalition with the agrarian Polish People's Party (PSL) also suffered from several blunders that led to the dismissal of the justice and treasury ministers.

His party won the 2011 parliamentary elections scoring a second consecutive four-year term in office -- a first in post-communist Poland.

If elections were held today, two other opposition parties -- the SLD ex-communist social democrats and the left-wing Palikot Movement -- would break the five-percent threshold needed to enter parliament, with a respective 12 and eight percent of the vote, according to TSN.

CBOS gave the SLD nine percent support ahead of six percent for the PSL.