Poland presidential election heads for second round – exit poll

Andrzej Duda greeted supporters in Lowicz

 WARSAW, June 30 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Exit polls in Poland’s presidential election suggest the incumbent, Andrzej Duda, has finished first but without enough votes to win outright.

If confirmed, Duda, a conservative, will face the liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, in the second round in two weeks’ time.

The Sunday polls suggest Duda took just under 42% of the vote and Trzaskowski just over 30%.

Turnout was high despite coronavirus and social distancing restrictions.

President Duda is an ally of the governing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party and if he loses, the opposition could push through major changes in Polish politics.

The president has the power to veto legislation, so Duda’s re-election would be of benefit to PiS, of which he used to be a member.

Trzaskowski, meanwhile, has pledged to heal rifts with the European Union. Duda’s allies have frequently clashed with the bloc over controversial reforms to the judiciary and media.

Trzaskowski rose fast in the polls after joining the race in May. Previously a member of Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform government, he won the capital’s race for mayor in 2018 promising “Warsaw for All”.

Poland’s election had been due to take place in May, when Duda was higher in the polls and stood a better chance of winning in the first round.

Although the epidemic had not yet peaked, the government was desperate for the May vote to go ahead. It eventually backed down when a junior coalition partner joined the opposition in saying PiS were putting politics before public health. — NNN-AGENCIES