Polish conservative opposition leads opinion poll

WARSAW Sat May 18, 2013 4:59am EDT

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks to the media during a news conference at the Prime Minister's Chancellery in Warsaw February 20, 2013. Tusk said on Wednesday he expected Poland would be technically ready to join the euro single currency by 2016. REUTERS/Peter Andrews

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks to the media during a news conference at the Prime Minister's Chancellery in Warsaw February 20, 2013. Tusk said on Wednesday he expected Poland would be technically ready to join the euro single currency by 2016.

Credit: Reuters/Peter Andrews

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party has overtaken the ruling Civic Platform in an opinion poll released on Saturday, showing the government may be increasingly vulnerable to the economic downturn.

The center-right Civic Platform, led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk won 40 percent of the vote at the 2011 election, but its support was down to 23 percent in the survey carried out by CBOS, one of Poland's biggest polling organizations.

Support for its main rival, the staunchly conservative and eurosceptic PiS, was at 26 percent, according to the poll, conducted between May 9 and 15 and published by daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

The gap between Civic Platform and PiS has been narrowing in recent months as the economy has slowed. PiS led a Homo Homini poll in April.

The statistics office said on May 14 that Poland's annual economic expansion slowed to a worse-than-expected 0.4 percent in the first three months of the year and hovered near zero in the two quarters from October.

A sluggish recovery would be tough for a country that has grown used, over two decades, to robust growth. Poland was the only European Union economy to fend off recession after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 triggered a global slump.

Poland's next parliamentary election is due in 2015.

(Reporting by Karolina Slowikowska; Editing by Alison Williams)

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