The presidential elections in Poland will be decided in a second round. Incumbent Andrzej Duda missed the absolute majority in the first round, polls show after the election.
In the presidential elections in Poland, national conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda missed the absolute majority required for re-election, according to initial forecasts. He now has to face a second round against opposition candidate Rafal Trzaskowski within two weeks. Duda won 41.8 percent of the vote, Trzaskowski 30.4 percent.
Voter turnout was high despite the corona pandemic. By 5:00 p.m., nearly 48 percent of those entitled to vote had cast their vote, the election committee said in Warsaw on Sunday. In the 2015 presidential election, the total turnout at the end of the day was about 49 percent.
“We still have a chance to win.”
Duda thanked his voters in Lowicz for their support on Sunday evening. It is important that the country is governed as the majority of the population wants it, Duda said with cheering from his followers. He congratulated his challenger Trzaskowski on his success.
Trzaskowski told supporters in Warsaw that the result shows that a high percentage of Poles want to switch. “We still have a chance to win.” The second round of elections will decide whether Poland gets a president who keeps a close eye on the government or someone who doesn’t respect his own signature.
Seated Duda outraged by homophobia
Duda, who has been in office for five years, presented himself in the election campaign as a guarantee of receiving the social benefits from the PiS government. The 48-year-old emphasized the traditional image of the family and rejected marriage for everyone. Duda had recently sparked outrage abroad with homophobic statements. He said of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, “We are trying to convince them that they are people. But it is only an ideology.”
His political rival Trzaskowski, representing the largest opposition alliance, the Liberal-Conservative Civic Coalition (KO), as mayor of the capital signed the so-called “LGBT +” charter, which should support sexual minorities. In the election campaign, however, he avoided putting this issue to the fore in order not to deter conservative voters. In the event of an election victory, Trzaskowski wants to reverse the controversial judicial reform of the PiS, which has brought Poland to the EU for good.
The president has far-reaching powers
The elections were also seen as a kind of referendum on the politics of the PiS, which has been president since 2015 and has an absolute majority in parliament. A second term in Duda would support the party’s monopoly of power until the next parliamentary election in 2023.
The office of the Polish President is not merely representative, the President has extensive powers and can not only veto laws, but also initiate his own legislative initiatives.
Election postponed due to corona crisis
The elections were originally scheduled for May 10. Since public life was practically crippled as a result of the corona pandemic, the date was postponed after a violent political dispute. Special protection rules were applied in polling stations on Sunday. In the center of Warsaw, people with face masks lined up at the polls because only a limited number of people were allowed in the rooms. Disinfectants were available at the entrance, the election workers wore gloves and transparent face shields. Voters had to make their crosses with their own pen.