The Polish presidential election headed for a runoff with the top two candidates in the first round well short of the 50—per—cent threshold needed to avoid a second round.
Bronislaw Komorowski of the centre—right Civic Platform party was at 41.2 per cent with 94 per cent of Sunday’s votes counted, the election commission said on Monday. Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the right—wing Law and Justice party received 36.7 per cent.
Final results were expected on Monday evening.
Fifty—five per cent of Poles voted on Sunday in the election to replace President Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s twin brother, who died in a plane crash in April in Russia.
There were 30.5 million eligible voters and 25,000 polling stations throughout the country in elections that had been slated for autumn, before Lech Kaczynski’s death.
Mr. Komorowski had been leading with about 50 per cent of the vote in pre—election opinion surveys but was well short of the required majority.
Komorowski asks supporters to mobilize for second round
He called on supporters to mobilize for the second round on July 4.
“There are moments in a politician’s life where a person can feel happy and complete ... when you feel the trust of millions of people in Poland,” Mr. Komorowski said at a rally after polls closed. “I want to ask you from the bottom of my heart to mobilize and fight to the end for a better future for Poland.” He congratulated the other eight candidates who had sought the presidency, especially the left—wing party that had surprisingly high results.
Grzegorz Napieralski, candidate for the Democratic Left Alliance, had shot from two to three per cent support at the start of the campaign to nearly 14 per cent in the partial count. He told his supporters at a rally that the results showed his party was a “real alternative” to the right—wing.
Mr. Napieralski said the campaign was difficult amid two tragedies: the plane crash in Russia and recent flooding in southern Poland that had left 22 dead since May. But he said the left—wing managed to show it is capable of working hard and mobilizing voters.
Mr. Komorowski and Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski both immediately reached out to Mr. Napieralski in the hope of attracting left—wing voters in the run—off election.
Mr. Komorowski was parliament speaker when he became acting president on April 10 after the death of Lech Kaczynski in the plane crash in Smolensk.
Mr. Komorowski pledged during his campaign to unite Poland’s divided political factions around common goals and to catch the country up to more prosperous members of the European Union, which it joined in 2004.
Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski said at a rally that the party needed to win “for the good of Poland.” “The key to ultimate victory — because these elections are not over — is our belief and our conviction that we can and need to win,” he said.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski a known euro-sceptic
He is known as a euro-sceptic who has spoken out harshly against Russia. In the current elections, Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has toned down his rhetoric and said he wanted to continue his brother’s legacy if chosen as president.
Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski said the second round would be a decision between “two visions of Poland” and that there were “significant differences” between himself and Mr. Komorowski.