Duda, backed by the nationalist ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, won with 51.21% of the vote, the country’s election committee said Monday. The more liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, of the center-right opposition Civic Platform party (PO), garnered 48.79%.
Voter turnout was more than 68%, according to the committee, the highest Poland has observed in 25 years for a presidential poll.
Duda initially declared victory on Sunday, but the Warsaw mayor refused to accept defeat, saying exit polls showed the election was still too near call. By Monday morning, more than 99% of the votes have been counted, and the election committee’s chairman said any extra votes wouldn’t change the end result.
During campaigning, Duda sought to mobilize his more conservative, largely rural base with appeals to conventional Catholic values and a promise to keep popular social welfare policies, such as a son or daughter allowance and lower pension age.
His focus on the problem of LGBTQ rights — at one point describing them being an “ideology” worse than Soviet-era communism — highlighted the deep cultural divisions in this Central European nation of 38 million people.
Duda’s reelection may help the PiS consolidate power after losing get a handle on of Poland’s upper house, the Senate, to the opposition in parliamentary elections last October. Its ruling coalition still narrowly controls the lower house, the Sejm.
The government’s radical reforms to the courts and stance on LGBTQ dilemmas, supported by Duda, have previously put Poland on a collision course with the European Union.
But with Duda in the presidency for still another term, the PiS — led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski — probably will continue on exactly the same path.
Trump has suggested that some of the US troops he plans to withdraw from Germany may check out Poland.
The outcome of the election could reverberate beyond Poland.
The country is really a major beneficiary of EU funding and the bloc as an institution is well-liked by Poles. A Pew Research Center poll published last October discovered that 84% of those surveyed in Poland had a great opinion of the European Union.
But if the Polish government moves further to weaken the rule of law, in the view of EU leaders, its position in the bloc might be damaged.
The European Commission has already launched several infringement procedures, including Article 7, over Poland’s radical reforms to the judiciary, that the PiS insists are necessary to root out corruption.
In campaigning, Duda argued that the very close cooperation between president and government was in the interests of Poland and may continue.
Trzaskowski told CNN before the election Poland needed a “balance of power where the president of the Republic can cooperate with the government as needed, for instance when it comes to restoring good relations with the European Union, but who is ready veto legislation for instance that meddles with the rule of law.”
Poland should again be described as a constructive member of the European Union rather than being marginalized, that he said.
“That’s why it is very important to restore good relations with our closest neighbors. And, you know, we have the same goals, even with this conservative government when it comes to security, when it comes to our relations with Russia, with our Eastern neighbors. But we just have to be strong and influential and that’s the goal for the president of the Republic.”
CNN’s Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.