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World News

Polish president would lose in election second round - poll

FILE PHOTO: Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron (not pictured) in Warsaw, Poland, February 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish President Andrzej Duda would lose in a second round run-off against either of his main election challengers, according to a an SWPS University poll cited by Polish media, in a sign the vote may be closer than first thought.

The election was originally set for May 10 but no voting was held due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the lockdown imposed to contain the virus now being eased, the vote is now likely to be held at the end of June, but the final date has not been set.

Duda, an important ally of the ruling right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, was long seen as the clear favourite but recent polls have narrowed his lead, especially since the main opposition centre right Civic Platform (PO) party changed its candidate to liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

Critics have said that the PiS, which was determined to press ahead with a postal vote on May 10, is concerned about the economic fallout from the pandemic eroding Duda’s popularity.

According to the SWPS survey, conducted on May 28-29, Duda, would win the first round, but would lose in the second round run-off against either independent candidate Szymon Holownia, a Catholic journalist, or Trzaskowski.

Duda would score 32% in the first round, according to the survey. In the second, he would lose to Holownia by 61%-39% and to Trzaskowski by 57%-43%.

Other surveys have consistently shown Duda scoring 40% or more in the first round and defeating all other candidates in the run-off, with one indicating a narrow 49%-46% margin over Trzaskowski.

Victory for Duda is crucial to the PiS government’s hopes of implementing their conservative agenda, as the president has the right to veto laws and trigger early parliamentary elections.

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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