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Polish parliament calls new presidential election

world Updated: Apr 14, 2010 18:22 IST

AFP
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Poland arranged today to hold a new presidential election in June as long lines of people queued through the night to pay respects to Lech Kaczynski, the leader killed in an air crash in Russia.

The election will be on June 13 or June 20, parliamentary chancellery chief Lech Czapla told a news conference ahead of senior lawmakers to decide the date.

The announcement came as the Kremlin said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would attend the funeral of Kaczynski and his wife this weekend, in a further sign of rapprochement between the two countries.

Poland is still deep in mourning for Kaczynski and 95 others, many of them leading military and political figures, who died when the government jet crashed en route to a memorial for Polish officers massacred by the Soviets 70 years ago.

Under the Polish constitution interim president Bronislaw Komorowski, the parliament speaker, must announce the election date within two weeks of the president's death and the ballot must be held within 60 days of the election announcement.

A presidential ballot had been due by October with Komorowski, a liberal, expected to run against the conservative Kaczynski.

Kaczynski's identical twin brother Jaroslaw, who was premier from 2006-7, may take his sibling's place, although he has made no public statement since the crash on Saturday.

Mourners queued through the night and into a second day to pay their respects to the bodies of Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, which were lying in state in closed coffins at the presidential palace in Warsaw.

The couple's funeral is to be held on Sunday in the cathedral of historic Wawel castle in the southern city of Krakow. US President Barack Obama will also be among world leaders set to attend.

Russian president Medvedev would also be at the ceremony, the Kremlin announced today, in a further sign of warming relations between the once bitter foes.