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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Conservative incumbent re-elected Polish president: election authority

13.07.2020 08:15
Conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda has won Poland’s presidential runoff election and secured another five-year term in office, according to provisional data announced by electoral officials on Monday.
Andrzej Duda (right) with wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (left).
Andrzej Duda (right) with wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (left).Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

With 99.97 percent of the ballots counted, Duda had 51.21 percent of the vote, while opposition-backed challenger Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, had 48.79 percent, the National Electoral Commission (PKW) said on Monday morning.

The final official results of the vote were expected to be announced later in the day or early on Tuesday.

Voter turnout in Sunday's runoff was a respectable 68.12 percent, up from 64.51 percent in the first round of voting two weeks earlier, according to the National Electoral Commission.

Poland's National Electoral Commission holds a news conference at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 13, 2020. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek Poland's National Electoral Commission holds a news conference in Warsaw at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 13, 2020. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek

An updated exit poll released in the early hours of Monday had pointed to a slightly smaller gap between the two runoff contenders, putting Duda's second-round support at 51 percent vs. 49 percent for Trzaskowski.

Poland’s governing conservatives last fall won parliamentary elections for a second consecutive term, and are looking to keep their grip on power by maintaining control of the presidency.

The Polish president has the power to veto legislation passed by parliament, a key prerogative in a country where traditionalists and liberals are bitterly divided.

In the first round of voting in the presidential ballot on June 28, no candidate won an outright majority, meaning a second round had to be held.

Duda won the most votes last month, garnering 43.5 percent, while Trzaskowski was runner-up with 30.46 percent, according to the National Electoral Commission.

‘Long live Poland!’

“Long live Poland!” chanted a jubilant Duda as supporters around him erupted in cheers on election night.

“I promise I won’t disappoint you,” he added, thanking his wife Agata and daughter Kinga and the conservative government which backed him in the presidential race.

Andrzej Duda (centre) with wife Agata (left) and daughter Kinga (right). Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański Andrzej Duda (centre) with wife Agata (left) and daughter Kinga (right). Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Duda said the election campaign had been “brutal,” but called on opponents to show each other respect amid Poland’s bitter political divisions. He invited his challenger to shake hands at the presidential palace.

Trzaskowski did not concede defeat but said he was waiting for the official results to come through.

“We said it would be close and it is close. But I’m absolutely convinced we will win,” he told supporters.

Rafał Trzaskowski with family on election night. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka Rafał Trzaskowski with family on election night. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Ahead of the vote, conservatives had warned that if Trzaskowski, the candidate of the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, was elected head of state, he would block a swathe of government initiatives, hampering the administration’s ability to push through core policies.

Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

The Polish presidential election was originally scheduled for May 10, but failed to go ahead amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(gs_pk)

Source: Polish Radio/TVP