WARSAW — A pro-business party and an anti-corruption party were favored to oust Poland's ruling ex-Communists in a general election today that could determine how quickly the U.S. ally adopts the euro.
When Poland joined the European Union last year, it agreed to eventually replace its currency, the zloty, with the EU common currency. To do that, its budget deficit must be less than 3% of gross domestic product.
Both the Civic Platform party and the socially conservative Law and Justice support adopting the euro, with the Civic Platform seeking swifter action.
Polls indicate that the two parties will be the major vote-getters, together winning more than 60% and allowing them to govern in a coalition.
Polls also show such low support for the governing Democratic Left Alliance that it was unclear whether the party could clear the 5% threshold for entering parliament.
The alliance has been damaged by a series of corruption scandals and an unemployment rate near 18%.
Civic Platform campaigned on reducing state bureaucracy and instituting a 15% flat income tax. Law and Justice is determined to preserve many welfare-state protections and says the flat tax would help only the rich.
One Law and Justice TV ad shows food disappearing from a refrigerator to illustrate the potential blow to poor families. Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called the tax plan "a joke."
Kaczynski is one of the most-watched figures in the campaign and could become prime minister. He is the subject of intense interest because his identical twin, Lech, is running for the presidency in a separate election Oct. 9.
The only way to tell them apart is to look for a mole on the bridge of Lech's nose, a feature his brother lacks.
The brothers have been well known in Poland since 1962, when they hit it big as child actors, playing twins in the film "Those Two Who Would Steal the Moon."
They returned to prominence in the 1980s by playing key roles in the Solidarity trade union movement that helped end communism in Poland, and they have remained active in national politics since. Lech is mayor of Warsaw.
The brothers, 56, have had to confront skittishness among some voters who worry it might not be a good idea for the temperamental, tough-talking twins to take charge of Poland at the same time.
To dispel such anxiety, Jaroslaw Kaczynski has pledged to hand over the prime minister's job to someone else in their Law and Justice Party should both siblings win.
Many Poles are skeptical that the brothers would willingly give up power, however.
That notion is reinforced by Lech Kaczynski, who wouldn't rule out the possibility in an interview last week with the Washington Post.
"My brother said that if I win, he won't serve as prime minister," he told the paper, a grin spreading across his face. "I think that would be a limitation of our civil rights."