Exit polls suggest that Poland’s opposition candidate Andrzej Duda has won the presidential election in the Eastern European country, defeating incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski in an almost neck-and-neck race.
Duda, a 43-year-old conservative from the Law and Justice Party, emerged victorious in the Sunday run-off election by garnering 53 percent of the votes, according to exit polls conducted by French polling institute Ipsos.
The 62-year-old Komorowski, from the center-right Civic Platform Party, conceded defeat in the competition after the exit polls indicated that he secured 47 percent of the votes.
“This time I have failed. This is the choice of citizens of free democratic Poland. I recognize and respect the verdict, because this is the principle of democracy,” he told a gathering of his supporters in the capital city of Warsaw late on Sunday.
In the first round of the presidential race, which was held on May 10, Duda managed to secure 34.76 percent of the votes, while Komorowski collected 33.77 percent. Short of a 50-percent majority, the candidates had to face each other in the run-off.
According to preliminary data, the voter turnout in the run-off was 56.1 percent in the country of 38 million people. The turnout in the first round had been 48.96 percent.
The final official results of the run-off presidential polls are expected to be released late on Monday.
Under Poland’s parliamentary system, the government is run by the prime minister. However, the president’s position is far from ceremonial as he heads the country’s armed forces and has the power to veto new laws.