Duda likely to win Polish presidential election as result still too close to call

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda (C) with his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (L) and daughter Kinga Duda (R) react after initial exit polls in Polish Presidential elections in Pultusk, Poland, 12 July 2020. [EPA-EFE/LESZEK SZYMANSKI]

Poland’s right-wing President Andrzej Duda has probably won a second term in office in a tightly contested presidential election run-off held on Sunday (12 July), according to an official exit poll, although the results were still uncertain on Monday morning.

A so-called late poll, published in the early morning hours, by Ipsos public opinion research centre for the public TVP and private TVN and Polsat television broadcasters combines exit poll data with official results for after 99,97% districts counted.

The poll, which has a margin of error of one percentage point, showed Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, winning 51.21% of the vote, while his opponent Rafal Trzaskowski (PO) obtained 48,79%.

However, the result of the knife-edge presidential ballot was still uncertain as of Monday  (13 July) morning. Poland’s National Electoral Commission (PKW) is expected to hold a press conference later on Monday, it said in a  statement.

Earlier, the Commission said it would not announce partial results as it has done in the past, but only the final result – possibly on Monday evening or in the night.

PKW head Sylwester Marciniak said on Sunday that 29,359,152 Polish citizens had been eligible to vote.

Both candidates in celebratory mood

Addressing an election event in the north of Warsaw, Duda said winning an election would be great news, especially now that the turnout reached close to 70%.

At the same time, Duda congratulated his rival Trzaskowski for his result, while at the same time announcing he would like create a “coalition for Polish affairs and values”, encouraging all to join such a coalition.

Trzaskowski, however, told a post-election rally in Warsaw that he believes in victory as he expects the counting of all votes to reverse the initial estimated results.

Poland’s opposition Civic Platform (PO) grouping said it was collecting information about what is says were voting irregularities.

“We are gathering information and signals about different irregularities and we are still only talking about polls and only a percentage of results from the National Electoral Commission so we don’t have a full picture of the situation,” Tomasz Siemoniak, a PO member of parliament, told Reuters.

Analysts said the election could be contested at the Supreme Court by either camp, given how close the result is expected to be.

The election was the first time all voters had a choice to cast ballots by mail, a change in rules necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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