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.
Mr. Komorowski, who conceded defeat, was initially expected to win an outright majority Sunday, according to opinion polls this year. A poor campaign, as well as 10 challengers, wiped out his initial advantage.
At 49.4%, Poland saw one of its lowest voter turnouts in a presidential election since 1989, reflecting voters’ fatigue with the candidates, a mix of established politicians and exotic newcomers.