Polling stations have opened on Sunday morning for the first round of the Polish presidential elections, which were expected to take place on May 10 but were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Incumbent Polish President Andrzej Duda from the ruling conservative Law and Justice party seeks re-election for another five-year term after his victory in the elections of 2015.
Polls showed that his main rival is Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a moderately liberal Christian democrat who entered the race rather late to replace Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, after the party’s original candidate tanked in opinion polls.
There are a total of 11 candidates in the elections, including a Christian conservative celebrity journalist, an agrarian-focused social conservative, a far-right nationalist, a social democrat and several others.
Polls showed that Duda is taking the lead but unlikely to top 50 percent of the votes needed to win the presidency. The winner of the first round will compete with the runner-up in a runoff scheduled on July 12.
Law and Justice, led by party chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski, wanted the elections to go ahead by postal voting only amid favorable polling, despite strong opposition from the public.
Critics argued that elections during lockdowns favor the incumbent, since other candidates are unable to hold on-the-ground campaigns, and put voters’ health at risk.
The polls close at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).