Poland’s Populist President Duda Edges Euro-Centric Challenger Trzaskowski, Earns Second Term

Polish President Andrzej Duda declared victory Monday in a runoff election in which he narrowly won a second five-year term, acknowledging the campaign he ran was often too harsh as he appealed for unity and forgiveness.

The close race followed a bitter campaign between Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski that was dominated by cultural issues. The government, state media and the influential Roman Catholic Church all mobilized in support of Duda and sought to stoke anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia in order to shore up conservative support.

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Exit Polls Show Poland’s Populist Duda Leading in Presidential Runoff

A late exit poll for Poland’s presidential runoff Sunday showed the conservative, populist incumbent, Andrzej Duda, leading against the liberal, pro-Europe mayor of Warsaw, but with the race still too close to call.

It appeared to be the closest election in Poland’s history, reflecting the deep divisions in this European Union nation.

The exit poll by the Ipsos institute showed Duda with 50.8% of the vote and challenger Rafal Trzaskowski with 49.2%. An earlier exit poll had showed Duda with 50.4% and Trzaskowski 49.6%. The polls had margins for error of plus-or-minus 1 percentage point and 2 points, respectively.

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