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Poland's Nationalist President Wins Reelection By A Narrow Margin

NOEL KING, HOST:

Poland's conservative incumbent President Andrzej Duda has won a second term. It was a bitterly fought election, and the opposition might well dispute the results. Here's Esme Nicholson.

ESME NICHOLSON, BYLINE: Speaking to journalists this morning, Poland's electoral commission announced that Andrzej Duda received 51.2% of the vote, narrowly beating Rafal Trzaskowski, who got 48.8%. Votes are still being counted, but the electoral commission says any variation in numbers will be slight and won't alter the final outcome. Duda greeted supporters in the early hours of this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) Andrzej Duda, Andrzej Duda...

NICHOLSON: Duda enjoys the backing of Poland's governing right-wing Law and Justice Party. He led a campaign heavily dominated by homophobic rhetoric in which he promised to defend, quote, "Catholic family values." His opponent, Rafal Trzaskowski, is mayor of Warsaw, Poland's capital and largest city.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RAFAL TRZASKOWSKI: (Non-English language spoken).

NICHOLSON: Appearing before supporters, he didn't concede. As a pro-European who's culturally more liberal, Trzaskowski's campaign promised to unite the country by bringing back balance and tolerance to Polish politics. Under Duda, the governing right-wing Law and Justice Party can continue strengthening its grip on the court system and public media, policies that Trzaskowski pledged to veto.

As the results reflect, Poland's presidential campaign was exceptionally divisive. Duda, who denounced the LGBTQ rights movement as an ideology worse than communism, garnered support from the government and the Catholic Church. State television also sided with Duda, alleging that Trzaskowski does not have Polish interests at heart, and it revived Poland's fraught history of anti-Semitism, accusing him of promoting Jewish concerns. Trzaskowski's party, the opposition Civic Platform group, says it's looking into potential cases of electoral misconduct, such as registration problems and missing postal ballot papers.

For NPR News, I'm Esme Nicholson in Berlin.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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