Duda to face Warsaw mayor in Poland's presidential runoff vote

Incumbent president secures 43.7 percent of votes while runner-up Trzaskowski has 30.3 percent, official results show.

    Conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda has secured the top position in Poland's presidential election and will face Warsaw's liberal mayor in the runoff next month, according to official results.

    Duda, who is backed by the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, won 43.7 percent of the ballot with more than 99 percent of polling stations counted, the national election commission said on Monday.

    Runner-up Rafal Trzaskowski had 30.3 percent, taking the Civic Platform (PO) party member into round two of the election on July 12.

    Independent candidate Rafal Holownia came in third with 13.9 percent. None of the other eight candidates topped 10 percent.

    Turnout was 64.4 percent. The commission said it will release the final results early on Tuesday at the latest. 

    The electoral campaign was dominated by concerns over an erosion of democratic rights and bread-and-butter economic issues.

    Poland is facing its first recession since the end of communism because of the coronavirus pandemic fallout.

    The election was scheduled to be held in May but had to be postponed because of the virus outbreak.

    'Ideology'

    PiS has cast Duda as the guardian of its generous welfare programmes, which have helped it win national elections in 2015 and 2019, and of its pledge to protect traditional family values in predominantly Catholic Poland.

    A devout believer himself, Duda had campaigned on a promise to ban classes about gay rights in schools, saying LGBT "ideology" was worse than communist doctrine.

    "The campaign goes on because Poland needs it," Duda told jubilant supporters in the central town of Lowicz. "Some people have a complex and think we are not Europeans. We are, and have been ... since we converted to Christianity."

    But his long-held lead crumbled in the weeks before the election after a late entry by Trzaskowski, who appears to have galvanised many voters eager to end Poland's isolation within the European Union or angry over Duda's allegiance to PiS.

    A tale of two brothers: Poland, politics, and the press

    The Listening Post

    A tale of two brothers: Poland, politics, and the press

    SOURCE: News agencies