The presidential elections of Poland kicked off on Sunday with a runoff likely on July 4.

Voting, which started at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT), will conclude at 8 p.m.(1800 GMT), with more than 30 million voters expected to cast votes in 25,774 polling stations nationwide. Exit poll results were expected upon the closing of the stations.

There are 10 candidates on the ballot, including acting President and Sejm (the lower chamber of the Parliament) Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the former prime minister and leader of the conservative Law and Justice Party.

Mr Komorowski, candidate of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, took over presidential duties after the death of President Lech Kaczynski in an air crash on April 10 near Smolensk, Russia.

Elections were originally to have been held this October. However, Mr Komorowski decided to call for an early election.

A second round of elections will be held July 4 if needed, according to a decree signed by Mr Komorowski.

Opinion polls published recently gave Mr Komorowski a comfortable lead over his main rival, Mr Kaczynski.

Analysts said, however, that no one would secure an outright victory by garnering over 50 percent of the vote, and that Mr Komorowski and Mr Kaczynski would likely compete in a runoff.

According to the latest public opinion polls, Mr Komorowski could get as much as 46 per cent of the vote, while Mr Kaczynski could receive between 31 per cent and 36 per cent. Turnout was seen at about 50 per cent.

Mr Komorowski is regarded as a centre-right candidate eager to push for political unity and a greater Polish presence in the European Union

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