Citizens in Poland are to return to the polling booths on July 4th to elect their new president in the second-round run-off which will pit acting President with the twin brother of the former President
The election has been forced upon Poland following the sudden death of former President Lech Kaczynski
who died in April when the plane he was travelling in came down in western Russia killing 95 other passengers including his wife Maria and top political and military figures.
With all the votes now counted, acting president Bronislaw Komorowski
took the largest share of the vote with 41.54% ahead of rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski
, twin brother of deceased former President Lech, with 36.46%. Grzegorz Napieralski
finished third with 13.68%.
While the order of candidates reflects the numerous polls published beforehand, the margin of victory was much smaller than expected, indeed it was only 5% rather than the predicted 13%.
However, no candidate achieved the magic 50% of the vote and so under Polish law, a run-off between the top two candidates must be held.
Reacting the result, acting President Bronislaw Komorowski responded philosophically and topically speaking in the language of football clichés: "in life, as in football and all sports, it's extra time that's the most difficult,
” he told supporters. “Let's be wide awake and mobilise our strength and all our energy for the final stretch.
Mr Kaczynski, left, also urged his camp to brace for the run-off, stating that “the key to victory is faith, the conviction that it is possible and necessary to win. We must win for our homeland, for Poland.
While the two outpolled the other eight candidates, the centre-left Grzegorz Napieralski scored a surprise 13.7% which potentially makes him the kingmaker to the eventual winner.
Therefore, rather unsurprisingly, both Mr Komorowski and Mr Kaczynski had warm words for Mr Napieralski as the count was underway, but the next fortnight of campaigning promises to be much more divisive and competitive between the two camps as both men strive to pick up votes from Mr Napieralski’s supporters.
As defined in the Polish constitution, Mr Komorowski became acting president after the plane crash in anticipation of fresh elections, although even before the tragic incident, he was reportedly preparing to challenge Lech Kaczynski's bid for a second term in an election originally scheduled for later this year, and which he was tipped to win.
Mr Komorowski is still the favourite to win the vote in two weeks’ time and comes from the same Civic Platform
) party as Prime Minister Donald Tusk
– something which many believe appeals to voters who are tired of the tensions between the government and the late president.
Turnout in the election was only 54.94% with more than 30 million of Poland's 38 million citizens were registered to vote.