Polish voters have sent a strong signal that they are unhappy with the country’s direction, apparently unseating the president despite years of fast economic growth and unprecedented stability. According to an exit poll, challenger Andrzej Duda, a rightwing member of the European parliament, won the presidential election on Sunday with 52% of the vote to 48% for the incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski. Official results are expected late on Monday. If Duda’s win is confirmed, it could herald a political shift in the European Union’s sixth largest economy, a nation that has been able to punch above its weight in Europe without belonging to the 19-nation eurozone. Poland’s influence is underlined by the fact that one of its own, Donald Tusk, now heads the European Council in Brussels. The changing political mood could signal a return to power of Duda’s conservative Law and Justice party in parliamentary elections this autumn. That would cement Poland’s turn to the right, create a new dynamic with other European countries and possibly usher in a less welcoming climate for foreign investors.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Poland.
Poland’s presidential election was supposed to be a cakewalk for popular incumbent Bronisław Komorowski. But instead of coasting to an easy victory, the president finds himself in danger of a stunning defeat in Sunday’s runoff election. Surprising pollsters and his own campaign team, Komorowski lost in the May 10 first round to Andrzej Duda, the candidate of the nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), who took 33.8 percent of the vote, a percentage point ahead of the incumbent.
Marek Jakubiak’s Polish brewing business has notched up 20 per cent sales growth each year since 2009, riding an economic boom that made Poland Europe’s fastest-growing economy in recent years. So it may seem surprising that Mr Jakubiak wants to throw out the government that steered that course. Yet he and other Poles are threatening to do just that. On Sunday, they will vote in a presidential election that many see as a harbinger of October parliamentary polls that could end almost a decade of rule by a government admired across Europe. Since coming to power in 2007, the Civic Platform party has managed to sidestep the financial crisis that has dragged much of the continent into recession, turning out year after year of gross domestic product growth. But not all Poles appreciate its efforts.
Poland’s presidential election is set for a run off between the conservative opposition candidate and the center-right incumbent, whose departure could lead to a change of political and economic priorities in the European Union’s largest emerging economy. The challenger, Andrzej Duda, scored a surprise victory on Sunday in the first round of voting, taking 34.5% of the vote, according to a late exit poll. President Bronislaw Komorowski, supported by the center-right camp that has ruled Poland for nearly eight years, had hoped to win the race by an outright majority but came second with 33.1%.
Poland: Opposition Candidate Wins First Round of Poland Presidential Elections | Wall Street Journal
A conservative opposition candidate won the first round of voting in Poland’s presidential election, a victory that could herald a change of guard in the European Union’s largest emerging economy. A contentious battle for the country’s presidency is likely in two weeks if the final tally, expected Tuesday, confirms no candidate won more than 50% of the vote. Andrzej Duda, supported by the main opposition party in Poland, the conservative Law and Justice, won 34.8% on Sunday. President Bronislaw Komorowski, supported by the center-right camp that has ruled Poland for nearly eight years, won 32.2% of the vote, according to pollster Ipsos for broadcasters TVP and TVN. A surprise third-strongest candidate, former rock star Pawel Kukiz, won 20.3%, according to the exit poll.
Buoyed by his strong defense background and Poles’ renewed fear of Russia stoked by the Ukraine crisis, Bronislaw Komorowski looks likely to win the first round of Poland’s presidential election on Sunday. How to ensure the security of Poland in the face of events in Ukraine was the paramount question presidential hopefuls had to answer when they gathered in a TV studio this week for a pre-election debate. That issue has preoccupied Poles since Russia’s intervention in neighboring Ukraine last year. While Poland is now a member of the European Union and a staunch NATO ally of the United States, it was under Soviet domination for decades after World War Two and so remains deeply sensitive to any Russian actions in the region.
Poland’s electoral authorities say that the votes in the May presidential election will be counted by hand and calculator because of a lack of a reliable electronic system. The decision by the State Electoral Commission follows a major computer malfunction that largely delayed the vote count in the local government elections last fall. The scandal led to the resignations of most of the commission members.
Thousands of supporters of a conservative opposition party in Poland marched on Saturday to protest the results of recent local elections, which party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says were falsified. The November elections were marred by problems, with a computer glitch delaying results and many ballots declared invalid because voters apparently were confused and marked them incorrectly. However, there is no indication they were falsified. Kaczynski’s critics accuse him of making false claims about the election outcome to motivate his base ahead of national elections next year. His supporters marched in Warsaw under the slogan “in the support of democracy,” chanting “repeat the elections.”
During an interview with Radio Maryja, an ultra-Catholic radio station, and then in Poland’s lower house of parliament, Kaczynski made his most forthright comments yet since the results were belatedly released on 22 November. “The elections were falsified,” the Law and Justive leader claimed. “One only needs to determine exactly to what extent, and who is directly responsible, because the beneficiary is clear enough to the naked eye,” he said. In parliament, he stressed the large amount of invalidated votes (17.93 percent), urging MPs to back draft legislation that would shorten the terms of those elected. Although Law and Justice won the most votes (26.85 percent), the party garnered 4 percent less than an exit poll had indicated. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s Civic Platform party managed 26.36 percent of the vote, slightly less than the 27.3 percent given in the exit poll.
”The election results announced by the National Electoral Commission are untrue, unreliable, so as not to use the word ‘falsified’,” Kaczynski said on Sunday, after the Saturday night release of results for Poland’s regional assemblies. Of the two largest parties, an exit poll on 16 November had given Law and Justice 31.5 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s Civic Platform was forecast to garner 27.3 percent. However, following chronic delays as a result of computer glitches, the official results gave Law and Justice 26.85 percent, and Civic Platform 26.36 percent.