Challenger Andrzej Duda has won Poland’s tightly fought presidential election runoff defeating incumbant Bronislaw Komorowski.
Exit polls have Duda winning with 53 percent of the vote compared to Komorowski’s 47 percent..
The position of president has limited powers but is head of the armed forces and can veto new laws.
Although official results have not yet been released, 43-year-old Duda has claimed victory.
“I thank everybody who participated in this campaign and who backed me, the thousands and millions of anonymous voters.
I’m sure that together, we can run our country. It’s huge and difficult work, and nobody could do it alone. The president and the government can’t do it alone, even if they have the best possible cooperation they can’t do it without the support of the people.”
The defeat of Komorowski brings an end to eight years at the helm of Eastern Europe’s biggest economy by the centre-right Civic Platform.
“It was the decision of the citizens of free and democratic Poland. Democracy means that one should not only recognise the voters’ verdict but respect it as well. For this reason I congratulate my opponent in the elections Andrzei Duda,” said Komorowski as he conceded defeat.
It’s the first major victory for the conservative Law and Justice party in almost a decade and it gives it a strong boost ahead of a parliamentary poll this Autumn. The party is led by former President Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw.