Poland’s Duda leads in 1st round of presidential election

Cheryl Sanders
June 30, 2020

In the last days of his campaign, Duda stepped back from some of his more homophobic rhetoric, in an apparent attempt to focus on the middle ground. The election will test the popularity of incumbe. None of the other eight candidates topped 10 percent. The exit poll suggests that Trzaskowski an. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

In Sunday's first round, incumbent Andrzej Duda, allied to Poland's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government, won 43.7% of the vote, while his main challenger, Rafał Trzaskowski, won 30.4%. Duda had always been seen as the clear favorite to win the election, but several recent polls had shown Trzaskowski could win in the second round of voting.

Almost complete results from Sunday's balloting show that Duda, who is backed by the populist ruling Law and Justice party, won almost 44% of the votes.

The two will next face each other in a runoff July 12 in what is shaping up as a suspenseful and competitive race.

Whether or not Mr Duda wins will determine whether Law and Justice keeps its near-monopoly on power. Over the past five years the party has taken control of the country's judicial system in a way that the European Union has denounced as violating democratic values.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the election, said that it was professionally run.

However, both pointed to inflammatory language during the campaign and a lack of impartiality from the public broadcaster TVP.

Voters of the far-right Konfederacja party, whose candidate Krzysztof Bosak received 7% of votes in the first round, could play a decisive role in the second-round outcome, as well as the 14% of the electorate who voted for the independent candidate Szymon Hołownia.

Earlier this month, Mr Duda said the LGBT rights movement promotes a viewpoint more unsafe than communism.

He said "ideological materials" must be kept out of schools and said that any pro-LGBT materials in school would remind him of his childhood, when the communist regime taught children one ideology and children learned something else in their homes.

Mr Bosak is a legislator with the Confederation party, which entered parliament for the first time a year ago on a programme that is anti-American and anti-EU and opposes LGBT rights.

Many of Holownia's voters are expected to support Trzaskowski but there is a bigger question about where Bosak's voters will turn.

Mr Trzaskowski now needs to find a way to bring Poland's disparate opposition - which includes left-wing parties, liberals and moderate conservatives - together. Duda also attracted more older voters, especially those 50 years and up.

Duda has taken advantage of the support of Poland's partisan public television network, which has boosted his campaign, while portraying Trzaskowski as beholden to LGBTQ+, Jewish or foreign interests.

Duda's campaign focused on upholding traditional values in the largely Catholic nation and promised to continue to raise living standards to the levels of Western Europe.

Other reports by iNewsToday