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Polish president wins 1st round, faces runoff with centrist

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 5:54 am EDT

President Andrzej Duda flashes victory signs after voting ended in the presidential election in Lowicz, Poland, Sunday, June 28, 2020. The election will test the popularity of incumbent President Andrzej Duda, who is seeking a second term, and of the conservative ruling party that backs him. Exit poll shows incumbent Andrzej Duda with most votes in Polish presidential vote, but short of first-round win.(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

WARSAW, Poland — Nearly complete results in the first round of Poland’s weekend presidential election show that the conservative incumbent, Andrzej Duda, won nearly 44% of the votes, putting him significantly ahead of all others but short of outright victory.

The results from Sunday’s election also show that Duda’s main rival, the centrist Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski finished second with slightly over 30%.

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

Poland’s state electoral commission announced the results of the election on Monday morning based on a count of 99.78% of all votes. The final results could differ slightly.

It is a slightly better result for Duda than was predicted by an exit poll on Sunday evening, which had him at nearly 42%. It reflects the popularity he has among many conservative and rural Poles for the mix of social conservatism and generous welfare spending espoused by him and the ruling party that backs him, Law and Justice.

Nine other candidates who ran in the first round have now been eliminated.

As Duda and Trzaskowski hit the campaign trail again on Monday, they will be vying for the votes of those other candidates.

Up for grabs will be the supporters of Szymon Holownia, a progressive Catholic nonaligned candidate, who won nearly 14% of the votes, as well as a far-right lawmaker, Krzysztof Bosak, who had nearly 7%.

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

The state electoral commission said its nearly complete vote shows Duda with 43.67%; Trzaskowski with 30.34%; Holownia with 13.85% and Bosak with 6.75%.

The Associated Press