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Poland in 2010

This year did not lack newsworthy events in the political sphere. But to get a broader sense of the scale of 2010's many shake-ups, Rzeczpospolita asked a panel of experts to name the year's top stories, be they successes or failures.

The single biggest and most shocking story, according to these sources, was unsurprisingly the plane disaster in April, which saw President Lech Kaczyński die in Russia along with 95 others, including a host of senior officials. The aftermath of the disaster shook the country for months and the ensuing presidential race and rise to power of Bronisław Komorowski was the top political event of 2010.

Other experts pointed to less dramatic but highly significant events, describing the greatest political successes of the year the Polish People's Party's (PSL) local elections results and Grzegorz Napieralski's third place finish in the presidential election. Prior to the local government elections, PSL had publicly stated that an outcome of 10 percent would be satisfactory. In the end, the populist party took 16.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Napieralski, chairman of the Democratic Left Alliance, showed surprisingly strong support in his quest for president, coming in third ahead of PSL's Waldemar Pawlak and former Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski. Political scientists say Napieralski's success was a bellwether of the changing political climate in Poland. "Napieralski had to first fight with establishment in his own party and later the establishment in the media and won both battles," Rafał Chwedoruk, a political scientist at the University of Warsaw, told Rzeczpospolita.

Other analysts said that the biggest political surprise of the year was Prime Minister Donald Tusk's decision to not run in the presidential election.

Source: WBJ

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