Polish President Andjei Duda and his rival from the largest opposition party - the centrist Civic Platform (PO), the current mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, have both won the first round of the presidential election, Ipsos showed on Sunday.
Ten candidates are vying to replace him, but opinion polls show that Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a liberal from the main Civic Platform (PO) opposition party, will enter a neck-and-neck run-off on July 12.
President Andrzej Duda, a 48-year-old conservative backed by the nationalist ruling Law and Justice party, was running against 10 other candidates as he sought a second 5-year term.
Trzaskowski, who has promised to heal rifts with the European Union, is set to come second with 30.4 percent, but could receive endorsements from other opposition candidates ahead of the July 12 second round of voting. "A lot will really depend on this decision", said Poland's anti-communist hero Lech Walesa as he voted in the northern port of Gdansk.
The campaign has been dominated by concerns over democracy and bread and butter economic issues as Poland faces its first recession since the end of communism because of the pandemic fallout.
Poland's state electoral commission has said it would release the final official results by Wednesday evening.
The Law and Justice party has been in conflict with the EU over laws that have given it control over top courts and key judicial bodies, something the 27-nation bloc has denounced as an erosion of democratic European values.
Some analysts view the election as a crucial juncture: a second five-year term for Duda would allow the PiS to make even more controversial changes while defeat could unravel the party's power.
Inside the polling stations, officials wore masks and transparent visors and many voters carried their own pens fearing contagion.
Poland's state electoral commission announced the results of the election on Monday based on a count of almost 99.8% of votes.
Opponents of PiS say that if Trzaskowski wins, he will be able to frustrate the legislative agenda of PiS through the presidential veto, as well as provide a different face of Poland to Brussels and the outside world.
"Personally I only see Duda as president", said Guzik, 52, an employee at the PGNIG state gas company.
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Poland's government has implemented popular social welfare payments in recent years but has also endorsed polarising legislation, especially judicial reforms.
Duda, who made attacks on "LGBT ideology" a major part of his campaign, will carry a strong advantage from the first round into the run-off, and said on Sunday night he had received a higher percentage than he had done in the first round five years ago.
Most of his supporters have said in surveys they would back Mr Trzaskowski in a run-off.
Campaigning with the slogan "Enough is Enough", Trzaskowski promises to use the experience and contacts he gathered as a former European affairs minister to "fight hard" for a fair slice of the EU's 2021-27 budget, and to fix tattered ties with Brussels.