Poland’s President Andrzej Duda appears to have almost managed to snatch victory from his opponent, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, in a remarkably tight race, with exit polls showing he’s only one percent ahead.
Duda has gained just over 50 percent of the vote, while his opponent secured 49.6 percent, based on the first exit poll results published by the Polish media.
In the initial round, his advantage over Trzaskowski was much more noticeable and accounted for a lot more than 10 per cent. He still fell short of the general majority that will have allowed him to win outright as that he gained only 43.7 per cent of the vote.
Yet, Duda already thanked his supporters and all voters for the “amazing turnout,” which that he said is just a “beautiful testimony to our democracy.” The president said that he wish to continue the policy that he pursued throughout his previous term. He also congratulated Trzaskowski on his result.
The Warsaw mayor appeared in no mood to give up as of this time, though. “It is close but I am absolutely convinced that we will win. All you have to do is count the votes,” that he told his supporters, adding that “this night will be nervous for everyone.”
The presidential vote has certainly was able to grab the nation’s attention, with people heading to the polling stations in record numbers maybe not seen since 1995. The voter turnout in the runoff was more than four percent greater than in the initial round fourteen days ago, and amounted to more than 68 percent.
Duda has generated his campaign around generous social-benefit programs that have primarily benefited less well-off rural regions, and promises of large infrastructure projects that he said would create jobs and raise the nation’s economy.
Yet, a conservative and an ally of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, that he also portrayed himself as a defender of tradition and Catholic values, drawing accusations of homophobia and anti-Semitism. In one of his speeches, he said that what he known as an LGBT “ideology” is more sinister than “Bolshevism,” drawing comparisons with the nation’s communist past, which has been a hot political topic in recent decades.
His speech even sparked a brief spat with the Western media, after that he accused news outlets of taking his words out of context in their coverage.
His opponent, Rafal Trzaskowski, widely viewed as a liberal candidate, is known for his pro-LGBT position. Yet he also sought to capitalize on Warsaw’s ongoing row with Brussels over what the EU sees as infringement on the rule of law, promising to block any bills he believed would undermine democratic norms.
Trzaskowski has declared that he would seek to lead a far more “tolerant” Poland. He vowed to close the state news channel TVP Info, while keeping in place the power programs championed by PiS.
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