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European Union rogue's nationalist tilt tested as Poland faces runoff vote

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Duda wins 1st round of Poland's presidential election

A far-right candidate, Krzysztof Bosak, was projected by the exit poll to win 7.4% of the vote, and his voters would also be up for grabs in the run-off.

"Without them, there will be several more years of a monopoly on power which is not honest and can not be held to account because it attacks independent institutions".

Mr Duda has endorsed the government's power grab, while a win by Mr Trzaskowski could cut short the plans and help rebuild Poland's strained ties with its European Union partners.

The political future of Poland's populist Right-wing president is under threat after he secured a fragile victory over the main opposition candidate in the first round of the country's presidential elections.

If confirmed, Mr Duda, a conservative, will face the liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, in the second round in two weeks' time.

Poland's president Andrzej Duda won the most votes in the first round of the country's presidential election on Sunday, exit polls found.

Two opinion polls conducted late on Sunday for TVP and the private broadcaster TVN gave Duda, who received 44% of first-round votes, a lead of less than two percentage points for the run-off.

Duda's immediate return to a theme that he has raised frequently during his campaign was an indication that he is heading into a tight runoff with Warsaw's centrist mayor by seeking to win the votes of those on the far right, not the political center.

"What hurts us is this government's monopoly on power". In a statement, the OSCE also accused Duda of using "inflammatory language" and running a campaign that "was at times xenophobic and homophobic".

The candidate with the third most votes according to the exit poll was Szymon Holownia, a TV personality and journalist who had once studied to be a priest.

Most of his supporters have said in surveys they would back Mr Trzaskowski in a run-off.

On state radio Monday morning, Duda stressed how his values line up with those of Bosak, calling same-sex marriage "alien" and depicting Trzaskowski as "left-wing". Duda has been a loyal ally, signing off on nearly all of the PiS legislative programme, as the government has stood accused of democratic backsliding and weakening the rule of law by European officials and civil society organisations.

Fellow voter Urszula however said she was crushed by the results. Tusk said the president's campaign had 'brought shame on Poland from around the world'.

Duda's support reflects the popularity he has among many older and rural Poles for Law and Justice's mix of social conservatism and generous welfare spending.

Duda's campaign focused on upholding traditional values in the largely Catholic nation and promised to continue to raise living standards to the levels of Western Europe.

Poland's state electoral commission announced the results of the election Monday based on a count of almost 99.8% of all votes.

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