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Voters in Poland’s presidential election were not discouraged by the coronavirus pandemic, turning out on Sunday in large numbers to take part in a ballot likely to determine the country’s political landscape for the coming years.
Nearly 48 per cent of Poland’s 30 million voters had cast their ballots by 5 pm (1500 GMT), nearly matching the total voter turnout from the 2015 presidential vote (49 per cent), the head of the state electoral commission said during a press conference.
Polling stations are due to close at 9 pm (1900 GMT), when exit polls are to be published.
No candidate is expected to gain the level of 50 per cent plus one vote needed to secure the presidency in the first round, so a run-off vote on July 12 is likely.
Incumbent President Andrzej Duda, supported by governing national-conservative party Law and Justice, is the front-runner, but is expected to face a strong challenge from liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski from centrist opposition party Civic Platform.
The two politicians are widely expected to face each other in a run-off vote in two weeks time. Such an outcome would be yet another instance of the political clash between Law and Justice and the Civic Platform that has dominated Polish politics since 2005.
A win for incumbent Andrzej Duda would consolidate the PiS party’s grip on power at least until 2023, when the next general election is scheduled to be held. But if Duda fails to secure a second five-year term the power of the governing party could be weakened.
The party does not command a sufficient majority in the lower house to override a presidential legislative veto.
Sunday’s vote was organised so as to observe precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.
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