Tusk celebrates another victory: photo - PAP
This page will be updated to keep you up-to-date with all the election results.
01.30 CET: We will be back in the morning on a new thread with official results and reaction to Poland's general election. Thanks for your company. Bye
01.06 CET: With the exit poll suggesting that there is, just, not a majority in parliament for a Civic Platform/Polish Peasant's Party (PSL) coalition, a source in the leadership of the winning party Civic Platform has told the PAP news agency: “We will closely be watching what happens with Grzegorz Napieralski [leader of the centre-left SLD] and his team in the coming days,” signalling the need to incorporate the post-communist left in a new government.
0046 CET: Turnout, according to the exit poll was 47.7 percent, down from the 53 percent four years ago but much better than the miserable 40.06 percent in 2005.
00.35 CET: Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Grzegorz Napieralski has said that his party (which got 7.7 percent of the vote) had a campaign which “was not treated equally” and “had been attacked from all sides”. (PAP)
00.22 CET: If the share of the vote in the TNS/OBOP exit poll is translated into seats in Poland's lower house, Civic Platform would have 212 MPs, Law and Justice 158, Palikot Movement 39, PSL 27, SLD 23 and the German Minority (guaranteed) one seat.
00.08 CET: Deputy prime minister in the outgoing coalition, PSL's Waldemar Pawlak, has not ruled out a new coalition with Donald Tusk's Civic Platform but this requires “serious thought”. “It's going to be a difficult four years,” Pawlak said tonight. (IAR)
00.01 CET: Sixty three percent of those who voted for (former Civic Platform member) Bronislaw Komorowski in last year's presidential elections voted for Civic Platform this time, finds the OBOP opinion poll. Eighty three percent of those who voted for Jaroslaw Kaczynski last year voted for his party, Law and Justice, today.
23.50 CET: Former left wing president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski has told the TVN 24 broadcaster that the emergence of the socially liberal, new Palikot Movement is an “interesting phenomenon”, representing "a personal success for Janusz Palikot", but also representing “independent young people […] wanting a freedom from state coercion on many different things.” (PAP)
23.40 CET: More details emerging from the TNS/OBOP exit poll. Forty two percent of female voters opted for Civic Platform, with 30 percent backing the more conservative Law and Justice.
23.30 CET: Dr. Anna Materska-Sosnowska, political scientist at Warsaw University, has told the PAP news agency she expects another four years of the status quo Civic Platform-Polish Peasant's Party (PSL) coalition.
She adds that the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), on just 7.7 percent – which has again failed to win back support from a peak of 41 percent support in the 2001 elections - “needs to change its leader” if it is ever to become a serious player again. Grzegorz Napieralski's days need to be numbered, she says.
23.10 CET: The political map of Poland has become familiar and is confirmed by the exit poll for TVP and TVN television channels. Civic Platform won in 11 provinces, mainly in the north and west, and Law and Justice has won five provinces, mainly in the east of country.
23.00 CET: Janusz Palikot, who founded his new party only last year after he left the ruling Civic Platform because he thought they were too socially conservative, was overjoyed at getting 10 percent of the vote, nationwide, according to exit polls.
“This is phenomenal. Eighteen months ago, opinion polls gave the Palikot Movement from one to two percent [in support],” he said tonight.
Palikot has taken votes from socially liberal Civic Platform supporters and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), support for which has fallen to 7.7 percent from 13 percent in the last elections four years ago.
22.40 CET: The Economist foreign affairs editor Edward Lucas has told us that, in the EU, there will be “sighs of relief [that Jaroslaw Kaczynski's party lost] particularly after Kaczynski's remarks about 'German imperialism'.
“Tusk has made Poland into a strong and reliable partner," thinks Edward.
Poland's six-month presidency has been “rather disappointing ” in setting agendas in the 27 nation bloc, however.
22.14: Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski (Civic Platform) has just said of possible coalition partners: "The prime minister has already ruled out cooperation with someone who champions the legalisation of narcotics.
"22.10 CET: On the future of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the opposition Law and Justice party consigned to another deafeat, Marcin Sobczyk says: “He will fight on. He sees it as his duty to his dead brother [Lech, who died in the Smolensk air disaster last year]. He will be rampantly against gay rights [as Palikot has promised] and any change in the [strict] abortion laws.”
22.03 CET: Marcin Sobczyk, the Dow Jones Warsaw bureau chief told us tonight: “It looks like the current PO/PSL coalition can be in for another four years. The current parliament will have a more leftwing character [however] with the Palikot Movement getting 10 percent. The general mood will be far more leftist,” he said, referring to Palikot's promise to legalise soft drugs and his call for a clearer separation between chirch and state.
21.55: President Bronislaw Komorowski has said that: "I'd like to thank everyone who decided to cast their vote. The fight is now over. Now the difficult period of finding a coalition has started."
Official results will begin to trickle out later tonight and through the morning. If they resemble the exit polls then Donald Tusk will be casting around for coalition partners. Will he go again with PSL, or Palikot, or even SLD? No chance of forming a pact with arch-enemies Law and Justice.
21.45: Leader of PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski remained optimistic after what appears to be yet another defeat at the polls – he lost a presidential election last year, local and European elections, and the general election four years ago: "We will win [one day] because we are in the right. The day of victory is coming, because Poland needs change," he said at his party rally.
"I hope that they (the government) will fight with the finance crisis, and not with PiS."
21.38: Tusk has given his “thank you" speech at the Civic Platform party rally in Warsaw and has thanked all Poles for the vote of confidence.
"I remember the moment four years ago [on his first election win] with great happiness and enthusiasm when we received similar news. I want to thank all Poles who four years later confirmed that that vote made a profound sense – for Poland, for Poles, for us, Civic Platform."
"I'd like to thank all those who voted for us and those who didn't.... as for the next four years, we are going to work for everybody, regardless of how they voted."
21.10 CET - As polling stations closed at 9 pm, Sunday, in Poland's parliamentary elections, an exit poll for TVP public television by TNS/OBOP has given Civic Platform 39.9 percent to the conservative Law and Justice's (PiS) 30.1 percent of the vote.
In third place is the liberal Palikot Movement (RP) with 10.1 percent.
In fourth place comes the Polish Peasant's Party (PSL), the junior coalition partner in the outgoing government on 8.2 percent and in fifth is the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) on 7.7 percent.
Under Poland's election rules, no other party would gain the five percent of the vote nationwide required to gain seats in Poland's lower house of parliament, the Sejm.
If correct then this is a historic result: Civic Platform will be the first ever party to win two consecutive terms in government since 1989 in Poland, though they must look once more for a coalition partner. (pg)
Online reporting by Peter Gentle with Nick Hodge.