Duda Forced in to Runoff with Centrist in Poland

  • With 99.8 percent of the votes counted, Duda had won 43.7 percent of the vote, while Trzaskowski followed in second place, with 30.3 percent.
  • An opinion survey on Sunday night placed Duda ahead of his opponent in the run-off by a less than one percentage point.
  • Despite the Coronavirus crisis, turnout in the first round was very high.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda leads after the first round of the country’s presidential elections, as per the partial results. However, he has failed to achieve the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff with his closest competitor, centrist Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski.

Andrzej Duda is a Polish lawyer and politician who serves as the current President of Poland, holding the office since 6 August 2015. Before his tenure as President, Andrzej Duda was a member of Polish Lower House (Sejm) from 2011 to 2014 and the European Parliament from 2014 to 2015.

In the first round of the Sunday’s election, the incumbent president Duda came in the first place. With 99.8 percent of the votes counted, Duda had won 43.7 percent of the vote, while Trzaskowski followed in second place, with 30.3 percent.

A close result is expected in the runoff election, scheduled for July 12. The vote is decisive for the nationalist-conservative government in Warsaw. A Duda defeat would significantly weaken the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).

A total of eleven candidates participated in the first round of the presidential elections. Analysts are giving Duda’s challenger, from the liberal Civic Platform (PO), a real chance of winning in the second round if he gets the unwavering support of the other candidates who have since been eliminated from the race.

However, an opinion survey on Sunday night placed Duda ahead of his opponent in the run-off by a less than one percentage point. This is a clear indicator that the run-off is going to be a very tight one, and it isn’t certain whom among the two would eventually emerge the winner. 

Despite the Coronavirus crisis, turnout in the first round was very high. According to Ipsos, it was 63.97 percent, as opposed to a paltry 48.96 percent who took part in the 2015 presidential election.

Long queues of voters were witnessed in front of the polling stations all over the country shortly after they were opened early in the morning. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, strict distance rules were in place, and many voters wore protective masks.

In addition to representative tasks, according to the constitution, the Polish head of state only has a say in foreign and defense policy. However, the president can veto legislative proposals.

Rafał Trzaskowski is a Polish politician and the current Mayor of Warsaw. In May 2020, Trzaskowski became the Civic Platform’s candidate for Presidency of Poland to stand in the presidential election.

Duda has rarely risen against the ruling party in the past five years. He approved controversial legislative changes and generous social benefits. Before the election, he promised to support the government’s planned pension increase. The PiS is particularly popular with citizens because of its extensive social program.

Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Warsaw and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, had his supporters in the capital celebrate after the first forecasts were announced.

The 48-year-old, who started the campaign with the slogan “Enough is enough,” sees in the second round “a choice between an open Poland (…) and those who are always on the lookout for conflicts.” He promised that he would be the “candidate for change.”

Trzaskowski only stepped in spontaneously in May, after the applicant, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, who had been fronted by the Citizens’ Platform, withdrew her candidacy due to poor survey results.

He faced the “enormous responsibility to fight for a strong state and for democracy,” he said at the time, alluding to the fear of the government undermining the rule of law and democracy in Poland.

In the election campaign, which was marked by debates on values, Duda and Trzaskowski were irreconcilable. While Trzaskowski condemned the changes in the judiciary enforced by PiS, and was open to legalizing same-sex marriage, Duda attacked the gay and lesbian movement and the European Union. Trzaskowski, on the other hand, promised to straighten relations with Brussels.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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