Polish Presidential Election Heads to Runoff

Poland’s presidential election appears headed for a runoff after no candidate appears to have won a majority of votes needed for an outright victory.Exit polls Sunday gave right-wing President Andrzej Duda 42% of the ballots cast and centrist Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski 30% of the votes. Television personality Szymon Holownia had 13%.  Election observers say they do not expect the final results later this week to change, meaning the top two candidates will face off in a second round July 12.Duda’s nationalist Law and Justice Party is hoping to be able to extend its majority in parliament and implement conservative social, judicial and immigration policies that many other in the European Union have criticized as anti-democratic.They include Duda’s pledge to ban gay rights classes in schools. He has called homosexuality worse than communism.  Trzaskowski, of the Civic Platform party, campaigned on promises to preserve the ruling party’s popular welfare programs but said he would block any legislation he says would be unconstitutional. He also says he would restore good relations with the European Union.  The coronavirus outbreak forced a nearly two-month delay in the election.Observers say the postponement hurt Duda who had looked as if he would cruise to a first-round victory. But his popularity in the polls slipped after the Civic Platform party replaced a much less popular candidate with Trzaskowski and other candidates were allowed to get out and campaign more when COVID-19 restrictions were eased.


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