A new dawn for Poland as homophobes lose power

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Poland will have a new Prime Minister after Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his Law and Justice party conceded defeat to Civic Platform.

Record numbers of Polish voters went to the polls yesterday to elect both houses of parliament, the 460-member Sejm and the 100-member Senate.

Polling booths stayed open for three extra hours in some parts of the country to cope with the numbers wanting to vote.

It was the highest voter turnout since Poland became a democracy again in 1989.

Kaczynski’s controversial term of office comes to an end after only two years.

However, his twin brother Lech, President of Poland and an outspoken opponent of gay rights, remains in office until 2010.

The League of Polish Families, a junior partner in the former coalition government and the most outspokenly homophobic party, did not meet the 5% threshold and now have no seats in Parliament.

While in government League party leader Roman Giertych was deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister.

Earlier this year he caused outrage at a meeting of EU education ministers when he openly criticised the so-called “homosexual propaganda” in schools and suggested a EU-wide ban.

He was reported to want to “prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and other deviance.”

Civic Platform, led by former Presidential candidate Donald Tusk, will form the next government.

They won 205 seats in the Sejm and are likely to form a coalition with the agrarian Polish Peasants Party.

“We went into this election in order to make everyone, without exception, feel good in their country, in their home,” Mr Tusk said.

“I thank everyone who, in an impartial way, has helped restore hope among Poles.”

Civic Platform are a conservative party, and they plan to halve the number of MPs and introduce a flat tax.

They support the EU and are committed to withdrawing the 900 Polish troops stationed in Iraq.

While socially conservative, they are unlikely to engage in the targeting of gay people seen under the outgoing government.

Mr Kaczynski promised that his party would be an effective opposition.