Anti-church tycoon scores big in Poland vote

Janusz Palikot' party advocates free access to contraception,legalising gay marriage.

Written by Agencies | Warsaw | Published:October 10, 2011 9:31 am

A new party which challenges Poland’s powerful Roman Catholic church led by tycoon-provocateur Janusz Palikot made a surprise breakthrough in its electoral debut,soaring to a third spot finish.

The Palikot Movement,which advocates liberalising Poland’s restrictive abortion law,free access to contraception,legalising soft drugs and gay marriage,scored 10.1 per cent in a TSN/OBOP exit poll yesterday with a 1.5 per cent margin of error.

“Life is beautiful. Everything is possible,” Palikot told a roaring crowd of supporters at his Warsaw campaign headquarters last night.

“It’s a great inspiration to know that in Poland there are millions of people who want a secular state,a civil and friendly state in which one’s faith is the private matter of each individual,” he said.

In another first,Palikot Movement candidate Anna Grodzka,57,could become the first transsexual to sit in Poland’s parliament.

Born as a man,Grodzka topped the party’s list in the devoutly Catholic southern city of Krakow – once home to the late Polish-born pope John Paul II.

“I’m not yet sure if I’ve been elected,but I’m very happy with the result scored by the Palikot movement,” Grodzka told AFP at a jubilant election night celebration at Palikot Movement headquarters in Warsaw.

“If I’ll be elected in Krakow,I’ll be Poland’s first transsexual,and the only transsexual MP not only in Poland,but the entire world,” Grodzka said.

Poland’s centrist coalition government won a new parliamentary majority in a general election yesterday,the TNS/OBOP exit poll suggested.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO) obtained 212 seats,while its junior coalition partner,the Polish People’s Party,scored 27.

That gave them a total of 239,mirroring their current clout in the 460-member lower house of parliament.

The conservative opposition Law and Justice party – the darling of Poland’s Roman Catholic church – led by eurosceptic ex-premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski took 158 seats,improving on the 146 it held in the outgoing chamber.

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