WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Official final results issued Tuesday from the first round of Poland’s presidential election show incumbent President Andrzej Duda secured 43.5% of the vote and needs to go into a runoff July 12 with Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.
The results announced by the State Electoral Commission were in line with an exit poll taken Sunday. Voter turnout that day was 64.51%, a record in more than 30 years of Poland’s democracy.
The conservative Duda and the centrist Trzaskowski, who received 30.46% of the vote, have resumed travelling across Poland to meet with potential voters as part of what is expected to be an aggressive runoff campaign focused on discrediting each other.
However, Duda responded positively to a debate invitation from Trzaskowski, but a final decision on the event has not been made.
The two are also seeking to win the votes of nine other candidates who competed in the election’s first round.
Duda has already bowed toward far-right backers of Krzysztof Bosak, who finished fourth with 6.78% of the vote. But Bosak said his Confederation party would “keep equal distance” from both finalists. He called the choice of Trzaskowski or Duda as choosing between “an open enemy and a false friend, and you don’t know which is worse.”
According to the Confederation party’s strategy, it can only grow when the conservative Law and Justice party that has governed Poland since late 2015 is weakened. Law and Justice is backing Duda’s reelection.
A natural source for more votes for Trzaskowski would seem to be supporters of Szymon Holownia, a Catholic TV personality who founded his own movement and finished third in Sunday’s first round with 13.87% of the vote.
But Holownia is making his endorsement of Trzaskowski in the runoff conditional on agreeing on issues that would be key to them both.
The remaining candidates in the first round won less than 3% of the vote, including Poland’s first openly gay presidential candidate, Robert Biedron, who finished with 2,22%.