As Poland heads into a presidential election run-off vote this weekend, candidate Andrzej Duda is challenging the established order of the ruling Civic Platform with a promise to curb foreign bank ownership and refocus Poland on its own interests in the EU. Kirsty Basset reports.
One of these men will be Poland's next President. And it seems it could be anyone's race. The incumbent, President Bronislaw Komorowski - was initially expected to win easily - until he lost the first round vote to Conservative challenger Andrzej - a relatively unknown figure in Polish politics, until recently. In a televised debate, Duda said Polish financial institutions should gradually buyout foreign-owned banks, to increase Polish ownership. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, ANDRZEJ DUDA, SAYING: "Today two-thirds of Polish banks are in the hands of foreign capital. The Polonization of banks is necessary. It should be a process of successive buy-out of banks by big Polish financial institutions, those ones that are strong and can afford it." He has also said Poland should focus on its own interests within the EU, including protecting its coal industry in the face of EU climate policies. But a poll taken after the debate put Komorowski slightly ahead, with 45 per cent support. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) INCUMBENT PRESIDENT AND CANDIDATE FOR NEXT CADENCE, BRONISLAW KOMOROWSKI, SAYING: "Faster changes for the better can happen only when we will follow the standards of the Western world, which we are part of. We can't support people who want to oppose Poland to the West and to the European Union. Today the effective policy is to build good relations inside Poland, between ourselves, and with our neighbours." A win for Duda could pave the way the way for a defeat of the ruling Civic Platform party in parliamentary elections, which will probably be held around October. That would bring about an end to its unprecedented run of eight years in power. Polls open on Sunday - a result is not expected before Monday evening.