Presidential runoff too close to call

  • A woman casts her vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, on Sunday. ap — Petr David Josek

  • Leader of Poland's right-wing ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left, wearing a face mask for protection against the coronavirus, casts his ballot in the presidential election runoff in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, next to a man wearing a face mask of Kaczynski's likeness. The ruling Law and Justice party is backing the reelection bid of incumbent conservative President Andrzej Duda, against the liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. Latest opinion polls suggested that... STR

  • Candidate in Poland's tight presidential election runoff, incumbent President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda cast their ballots at a polling station in their hometown of Krakow, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Conservative Duda is running against liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and latest opinion polls suggest the race will be decided by a very narrow margin.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • Candidate in Poland's tight presidential election runoff, incumbent President Andrzej Duda,right, and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda ,left, cast their ballots at a polling station in their hometown of Krakow, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Conservative Duda is running against liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and latest opinion polls suggest the race will be decided by a very narrow margin.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • Presidential candidate Rafal Trzaskowski accompanied by his wife Malgorzata arrives to cast his vote during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Presidential candidate Rafal Trzaskowski accompanied by his wife Malgorzata addresses media after casting his vote during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Candidate in Poland's tight presidential election runoff, incumbent President Andrzej Duda talks to reporters after having cast his ballot at a polling station in his hometown of Krakow, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Conservative Duda is running against liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and latest opinion polls suggest the race will be decided by a very narrow margin.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • A woman with her son cast a vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski are heading into a tight presidential runoff that is seen as an important test for populism in Europe. The Sunday, July 12 election comes after a bitter campaign that has exacerbated a conservative-liberal divide in the country. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Voters cast their ballots shortly after polling stations open in Poland's tight presidential election runoff between conservative incumbent President Andrzej Duda and liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in Lomianki, near Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Latest polls showed that the race may be decided by a very small margin. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • A woman prepares to cast her vote during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man casts his vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Voters cast their ballots shortly after polling stations open in Poland's tight presidential election runoff between conservative incumbent President Andrzej Duda and liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, in Lomianki, near Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Latest polls showed that the race may be decided by a very small margin. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • Voters, wearing masks and keeping distance for protection against the coronavirus, wait in line to cast their ballots shortly after polling stations open in Poland's tight presidential election runoff, in Lomianki near Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • Members of the election committee sit by tables during the presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski are heading into a tight presidential runoff that is seen as an important test for populism in Europe. The Sunday, July 12 election comes after a bitter campaign that has exacerbated a conservative-liberal divide in the country. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man casts his vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Voters cast their ballots shortly after polling stations opened in Poland's tight presidential election runoff in Lomianki, near Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • A member of the election committee cleans a table during the presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski are heading into a tight presidential runoff that is seen as an important test for populism in Europe. The Sunday, July 12 election comes after a bitter campaign that has exacerbated a conservative-liberal divide in the country. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man prepares his vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man prepares his vote during presidential runoff election in Krakow, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland’s razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man prepares to cast his vote during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • A man lifts his daughter to cast his vote for him during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • Member of the election committee waits for voters during the presidential election runoff in Rybnik, Poland, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Voting started Sunday in Poland's razor-blade-close presidential election runoff between the conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda and liberal, pro-European Union Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Petr David Josek

  • In this Tuesday, July 7, 2020 photo Poland's incumbent president Andrzej Duda, who is seeking reelection in a tight presidential election runoff on Sunday, July 12, 2020 attends a rally in Lomza, Poland. Duda, who has backing from Poland's ruling right-wing party, is running against liberal Warsaw mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski. Opinion polls suggest the election may be decided by a small number of votes. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • In this Thursday, July 9, 2020 photo Rafal Trzaskowski, contender in Poland's tight presidential election runoff on Sunday, July 12, 2020, waves during a rally in Raciaz, Poland. Trzaskowski is running against incumbent conservative president, Andrzej Duda, who has backing from the ruling party. Opinion polls suggest the election may be decided by a small number of votes. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) Czarek Sokolowski

  • Leader of Poland's right-wing ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left, wearing a face mask for protection against the coronavirus, casts his ballot in tight presidential election runoff in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, next to a man wearing a face mask of Kaczynski's likeness. The ruling Law and Justice party is backing the reelection bid of incumbent conservative President Andrzej Duda, against the liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. Latest opinion polls suggested... STR

Published: 7/12/2020 7:47:13 PM

WARSAW, Poland — An exit poll in Poland’s presidential runoff election shows a tight race that is too close to call between the conservative, populist incumbent and the liberal, pro-Europe mayor of Warsaw — a battle that reflected the deep divisions in this European Union nation

The exit poll by the Ipsos institute showed President Andrzej Duda with 50.4% of the vote and challenger RafalTrzaskowski with 49.6%. But the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. The difference between the two 48-year-old candidates is within the poll’s margin of error, meaning it’s not yet possible to say with certainty who won.

Official results are expected Monday or Tuesday.

Duda, who is backed by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party and the government, campaigned on traditional values and social spending in this mostly Catholic nation as he sought a second 5-year term.

Trzaskowski, a former European Parliament lawmaker, jumped into the race relatively late to oppose Duda’s denigration of urban liberals, the LGBT community and other minorities and to counter an erosion of democratic rights under the ruling party. He represented the centrist opposition Civic Platform party that was in power in from 2007 to 2015.

The result is expected to lead to starkly different political paths for Poland, at least until 2023, when the next parliamentary election is scheduled.

The State Electoral Commission said the turnout by 5 p.m. was 52.1%, more than four points higher than at that time in the first round of voting on June 28 — one sign of just how much Poles on both sides feel their nation’s future is at stake.

If Duda is reelected, the right-wing Law and Justice party will continue to have a close ally in the president and maintain its hold on almost all key instruments of power in the nation of 38 million people. A win for Trzaskowski would give him the power to veto laws passed by the ruling conservatives and give Poland a less contentious relationship with EU officials.


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