The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions
The state election commission registered 16 candidates for the 9th October elections. In alphabetic order: Marek Borowski, Henryka Bochniarz, Leszek Bubel, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Maciej Giertych, Liwiusz Ilasz, Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw Kalinowski, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Andrzej Lepper, Daniel Podrzycki, Jan Pyszko, Zbigniew Religa, Adam Slomka, Donald Tusk and Stanislaw Tyminski. Daniel Podrzycki died prior to the poll and Zbigniew Religa, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Maciej Giertych withdrew from the race. Donald Tusk - leader of the Civic Platform (PO) and Lech Kaczynski - mayor of Warsaw and the candidate of Law and Justice (PiS) led in pre-election opinion polls. Other candidates with significant levels of support were heart surgeon, Zbigniew Religa, Self-defence leader, Andrzej Lepper, and Polish Social Democracy (SdPl) leader, Marek Borowski. According to the constitution, the Polish president has few legislative powers. However, he runs the country’s foreign policy and in this respect Alexander Kwasniewski’s ten year tenure has been regarded as a great success – at least, in the West. In particular, Kwasniewski has been loyalty personified to his post-1989 ally, the United States, by providing the third largest contingent of troops in Iraq and echoing Washington’s disapproval of Putin’s Russia. He also took the leading regional role in bringing the ‘Orange revolutionaries’ to power in Kiev in 2004.