Duda Beats Komorowski in First Round of Poland’s Presidential Election – but Rock Star Kukiz May Hold the Key to Victory

Poland’s president Bronisław Komorowski faces a battle for survival after exit polls suggest he lost out to opposition rival Andrzej Duda in the first round of the presidential election today – with the third favourite, rock star Paweł Kukiz, pledging to throw his support behind the latter.

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Mr Komorowski (independent, supported by Civic Platform – PO) received 32.2 per cent of the vote, with Mr Duda (Law and Justice – PiS) on 34.8 per cent. Mr Kukiz (Ind), the highly-tipped dark horse in the presidential election in Poland, took 20.3 per cent.

The exit poll, published by French-based company Ipsos, working with major media outlets in Poland such as TVN, declared strong support for Mr Duda in the south and east of Poland, with Mr Komorowski’s supporters mainly in the north and the west.

Mr Komorowski and Mr Duda will now fight it out for Poland’s top political job, in the second round of the presidential election, on May 24.

Speaking as polls closed on the night of May 10, Mr Duda challenged Mr Komorowski to a televised debate ahead of the second round. Mr Duda, and nine of the other 11 candidates, took part in such a debate before the first round, but Mr Komorowski declined to participate.

Poland’s presidential elections traditionally see candidates who do not make it to the second round support one of their successful opponents.

Mr Kukiz, whose support as a ‘protest candidate’ from Poles dissatisfied with both the main parties, said he would urge his followers to back Mr Duda in the run-off.

The rock star said: “I will certainly not urge people to vote for someone who would strengthen the omnipotence of Civic Platform… I’ll take votes from the president, and I will do so happily. I would never vote for Komorowski, because his presidency has very negative consequences.”

Janusz Korwin-Mikke took fourth place, with 4.4% of the vote. Next were Magdalena Ogórek (2.4%), Adam Jarubas (1.6%), Janusz Palikot (1.5%), Grzegorz Braun (1.1%), Marian Kowalski (0.8%), Jacek Wilk (0.6%) and Paweł Tanajno (0.3%).

The turnout was 49.4%.