Polish presidential election results: Duda and Trzaskowski faace run-off

Clay Curtis
June 30, 2020

Polish president Andrzej Duda casts his vote in the first round of the country's presidential election.

Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), is on track to gain 41.8 percent of the vote, falling short of the 50 percent majority needed to claim victory in the first round.

(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski). A top candidate in Poland's presidential election, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, front, reacts to the exit poll after voting closed, in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday June 28, 2020. "These will not be a choice between Andrzej Duda and Rafal Trzaskowski, but a choice between an open Poland and a Poland that, sadly, looks for an enemy and prefers to divide people".

Despite leading in the first round, Duda will be facing a neck-and-neck contest in the run-off due to opposition consolidation.

The turnout in the election was 64.4 per cent, despite the coronavirus pandemic meaning that many people had to wait in socially distanced lines outside polling stations. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Opponents of PiS say that if Trzaskowski wins, he will be able to frustrate the legislative agenda of PiS through the presidential veto, as well as provide a different face of Poland to Brussels and the outside world.

Experts were divided on who could win the election next month.

Mr Trzaskowski's programme calls for allowing same-sex civil partnerships but not marriage, and he has largely avoided the issue on the campaign trail.

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Duda has taken advantage of the support of Poland's partisan public television network, which has boosted his campaign, while portraying Trzaskowski as beholden to LGBTQ+, Jewish or foreign interests. The result is by far better than the one from five years ago and with 10 other candidates. "A lot will really depend on this decision", said Poland's anti-communist hero Lech Walesa as he voted in the northern port of Gdansk.

Polish voters denied President Andrzej Duda's bid for quick re-election, forcing him into a runoff that risks halting a nationalist makeover of the eastern European country. Duda also attracted more older voters, especially those 50 years and up.

'Personally I only see Duda as president, ' said Guzik, 52, an employee at the PGNIG state gas company.

Whether or not Duda wins will determine whether Law and Justice will keep its near-monopoly on power.

Earlier this month Mr Duda said LGBT "ideology" was more risky than communism, and has sought to portray himself as a defender of the "traditional family".

He backed anti-abortion legislation and echoed PiS attacks on LGBT rights and liberal values.

On the campaign trail, Trzaskowski promised to maintain the ruling party's popular welfare spending programs and promised to restore constitutional norms and Poland's relationship with the EU.

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