Polish voters choose mayors in hundreds of cities in runoff election

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Polish voters take part in a local runoff election in Lomianki, near Warsaw, Poland on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Voters are choosing mayors who did not win outright in the first round of the election two weeks earlier. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW – Polish voters on Sunday chose mayors in hundreds of cities and towns where no candidate won outright in the first round of local election voting two weeks ago.

Mayors were chosen in a total of 748 places, including in the cities of Krakow, Poznan, Rzeszow and Wroclaw. Those are places where no single candidate won at least 50% of the vote during the first round on April 7.

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Exit polls were released after voting ended Sunday evening, but there were no results announced immediately. In Krakow, with one of the most closely watched races, the exit poll put the two candidates within the margin of error and the race couldn't be called.

The local and regional elections were viewed as a test for the pro-European Union government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk four months after it took power at the national level.

Tusk's party did well in big cities, including Warsaw, where his party's candidate, Rafał Trzaskowski, easily won reelection as mayor two weeks ago.

However, Tusk failed to win a decisive victory overall. The main opposition party, Law and Justice, which held power at the national level from 2015-23, won a greater percentage of votes in the provincial assemblies.

Tusk's socially liberal Civic Coalition has strong support in cities while Law and Justice has a stronger base in conservative rural areas, particularly in eastern Poland.

In the election of the provincial assemblies, Law and Justice obtained 34.3% of the votes nationwide and Tusks' Civic Coalition got 30.6%.

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