Poland’s Duda holds slim lead in presidential election, exit poll suggests

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Poland’s incumbent President Andrzej Duda holds a slim lead after Sunday’s presidential election, according to an exit poll.

The poll on Sunday showed Mr Duda, an ally of the conservative government, with 50.4% of the vote.

He was pitted against the socially liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

The vote has been widely seen as a battle for the country’s future as well as its strained relations with the European Union.

Mr Trzaskowski received 49.6% of the vote, according to the exit poll, which pollster Ipsos said had a margin of error of two percentage points.

A second poll – combining exit poll data with partial official results – said Mr Duda received 50.8% of the vote, the Reuters news agency reported. Official results are expected on Monday.

“I want to thank everyone that voted for me,” Mr Duda said shortly after the exit poll was announced.

Mr Trzaskowski told his supporters: “The result has probably never been so close in Polish history, we’ve never felt the power in our vote so much.”

Mr Duda said turnout was nearly 70%, which, if confirmed by election officials, would be a record high for a presidential election in the country.

A win for Mr Duda is expected to herald controversial changes to the judiciary and continued opposition to abortion and gay rights.

Media captionPoland has been called the worst country in the EU for LGBT rights

He came under fire during the election, including for a speech in which he said LGBT rights were an “ideology” more destructive than communism.

Media captionTrzaskowski: Polish democracy is ‘under attack’

Mr Trzaskowski, meanwhile, has backed a more progressive agenda and an active role in the European Union. The liberal politician rose fast in the polls after joining the race in May. Previously a member of Donald Tusk’s liberal Civic Platform government, he won the capital’s race for mayor in 2018 promising “Warsaw for All”.

He said Polish voters would never have another chance to change Poland’s direction.

“All we need is to count the votes. The night will be tense but I am certain that when the votes are counted, we will win,” Mr Trzaskowski told supporters on Sunday.

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