The first round of presidential election hasn’t really told us anything we didn’t know before. We’re still left with the same uncertainties- we don’t know who’ll be our next president, and so we also don’t know whether the authoritarian tide initiated by PiS will be stopped. June 28 didn’t resolve anything, nor did it give us a hint that would allow to make predictions about the upcoming runoff election on July 12.
Final results left Duda with a somewhat smaller percentage of votes than initially expected. Trzaskowski, meanwhile, was able to break through the psychological barier of 30 percent. This only concludes a tendency we’re observing throughout the last couple of weeks: while support for Duda was slowly waning, Trzaskowski rose in popularity.
The second round will largely depend on whether or not this tendency continues, and what the voters favouring other candidates in the first round will decide to do. Who will they vote for? Will they even care to cast their ballots?
If we add up the percentage of votes cast for Trzaskowski and Hołownia, we end up with a total score slightly above that of the sitting president. Other candidates, Kosiniak-Kamysz and Biedroń, received far fewer votes than anticipated. However, the far-right Confederacy (Konfederacja) candidate-Krzszysztof Bosak, gained more votes than Kosiniak and Biedroń combined.
It’s probably a safe bet that in the second round, both Duda and Trzaskowski will keep up their initial score, and that those who voted for them in the first round will vote again.
Yet, which one of them will inherit the votes received by their competitors and how will they be distributed is still a wild guess. Most people who supported Hołownia will probably cast their vote for Trzaskowski, but we should keep in mind that some of them might not even go to the polling stations in the first place. The same applies to the electorate of Kosiniak-Kamysz and Biedroń. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of Kosiniak’s voters cast their ballot in Duda’s favour, but considering that the People’s Party (PSL) candidate gained only a fraction of all votes, their choice wouldn’t really have the potential to tip the scale.
What remains a mystery, however, is the behaviour of Krzysztof Bosak’s supporters. I’m under the impression that a vast majority of them won’t even care to participate in the runoff election. Some will vote for Duda, others for Trzaskowski. Pre-election polls suggested that, paradoxically, rather than voting for the incumbent president, the Confederates are more likely to declare their support for his liberal opponent. But will these predictions come true? We’ll have to wait and see.
Either way, it might very well be that the final word will belong to Krzysztof Bosak and his electorate. It’s somewhat unsettling to think that Poland’s future is in the hands of the far-right, but, in the end, such are the principles of a democracy.
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