Poland's President Andrzej Duda appeared to have lost his grip on victory in an upcoming election, fresh opinion polls showed, threatening a political upset for the allied right-wing government. In that case, the two top vote-getters will face each other on July 12.
According to the first-round results of the presidential elections in Poland, no candidate has achieved the 50% needed for an all-out victory.
Poland's state electoral commission announced the results of the election on Monday morning based on a count of 99.78% of all votes.
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowsk, standing for the liberal Civic Platform party (PO), seen by many as Duda's main opposition, got 30.4 percent of the votes, the poll showed.
Originally scheduled for May, the ballot was postponed due to the pandemic and a new hybrid system of postal and conventional voting was in place on Sunday in a bid to stop the election from causing a spike in infections. Polls also showed that he would have a more hard time in a runoff given that many opposition votes would be expected to consolidate against Duda. Trzaskowski entered the race late after the May election date was scrapped. He was helped by adulatory coverage in state media and the inability of other candidates to campaign.
Up for grabs will be the supporters of Szymon Holownia, a progressive Catholic nonaligned candidate, who won almost 14% of the votes, as well as a far-right lawmaker, Krzysztof Bosak, who had almost 7%.
While official figures show over 33,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 deaths, the health minister has admitted that there are likely up to 1.6 million undetected cases in Poland, an European Union country of 38 million people. He cast his ballot for Duda, saying he opposed political "experiments" in a time of crisis.
Observers say a win by Trzaskowski could undermine the fragile majority PiS has in parliament, and force Morawiecki to govern as a minority cabinet, or even face an early national election.
Duda's campaign focused on defending traditional values in the mostly Catholic nation while promising to raise living standards to Western European levels. He took a position against same-sex marriage and adoption and denounced the LGBT rights movement as a risky "ideology".
But he has raised hackles in Brussels by endorsing a controversial reform of the judiciary that critics say is eroding democracy - three decades on from the end of communist rule in Poland.
On the campaign trail, Trzaskowski, has promised to keep Law and Justice's popular social welfare spending programs while vowing to restore constitutional norms.
That message resonated with Iwona Goge, a 79-year-old who voted for Trzaskowski in Warsaw and was encouraged to see so many others voting. Holownia is unaffiliated with any party and has generated some enthusiasm among those exhausted of years of bickering between Law and Justice and Civic Platform, the country's two main parties.
A far-right nationalist candidate, Krzysztof Bosak, was projected by the exit poll to win 7.4 percent of the vote, and his voters would also be up for grabs in the runoff.
"There were nine other candidates fighting for [the presidency], DW's Wojciech Szymanski said".