Exit poll: Tusk's party leading in Polish election

By the Associated Press | October 9, 2011 | 3:45 PM EDT

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk casts his ballot as his wife Malgorzata looks on during the parliamentary elections in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Poles are voting to determine whether the centrist Civic Platform party will win another term after four years of strong economic growth. But Prime Minister Donald Tusk's party is facing a tough challenge from Law and Justice, the conservative party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — An exit poll shows that the centrist Civic Platform party of Prime Minister Donald Tusk is winning Poland's national election with 39.6 percent of the votes.

The TNS OBOP exit poll shows opponent Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative Law and Justice party in second place with 30.1 percent of votes in elections to the parliament.

A new left-wing party, Palikot's Movement, is in third place with 10.1 percent of the votes. This party has been the surprise of the election season, rising in a short time to double-digit support on promises to fight the power of the Roman Catholic church in society and other socially liberal causes.

The poll was published by the all-news station TVN24 on Sunday.

Official results are not expected until Monday.

If Civic Platform's victory is confirmed by the official results, it would be the first time a party has won two consecutive terms of office in Poland in the politically turbulent period following the collapse of communism 22 years ago.

With Tusk's party appearing to fall short of an outright majority in parliament, it will need to seek a coalition partner.

Tusk addressed jubilant supports Sunday night. He did not claim victory, saying he was still waiting for his good showing to be confirmed by official results before. But he said talks on forming a new government would begin Monday.

Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said he expects his Civic Platform party to continue its coalition with Polish People's Party, a small farm-based party with conservative values. It has 8.2 percent support in the same exit poll.

Kaczynski acknowledged his defeat at his party's election night gathering, but said, "I am deeply convinced that the day will come when we will succeed because we are in the right."