2020 Polish presidential election

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2020 Polish presidential election

← 2015 28 June 2020 (first round)
12 July 2020 (second round)
2025 →
Turnout64.51% (first round)
68.18% (second round)
  Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej Andrzej Duda.jpg Rafał Trzaskowski 22 May 2020.jpg
Nominee Andrzej Duda Rafał Trzaskowski
Party Independent[a] PO
Popular vote 10,440,648 10,018,263
Percentage 51.0% 49.0%

2020 Polish presidential election map.png
Results of the second round by county.

President before election

Andrzej Duda

Elected President

Andrzej Duda

Presidential elections were held in Poland on 28 June 2020. As no candidate received a majority of the vote, a second round was held on 12 July, in which incumbent president Andrzej Duda, running with the support of Law and Justice,[1] faced off against Civic Platform vice-chairman and Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski. Results from the second round of voting, announced by the National Electoral Commission (PKW) on 13 July, indicated that Andrzej Duda had won with 51.03% compared to Rafał Trzaskowski's 48.97%.[2]

The first round of voting was due to be held on 10 May 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. On 6 May 2020, the Agreement party, which is in a governing alliance with the leading Law and Justice party and was opposed to pursuing the original election date, reached an arrangement to set new dates for the election. The following day, the PKW declared that the election would not be able to take place on 10 May 2020. On 3 June 2020, the Marshal of the Sejm, Elżbieta Witek, ordered the first round of the election to be held on 28 June 2020 and scheduled the second round on 12 July 2020.[3][4]

According to the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the public broadcaster TVP "failed in its legal duty to provide balanced and impartial coverage" and "acted as a campaign vehicle for the incumbent".[5]

Electoral system[edit]

The President of Poland is directly elected using a two-round system for a five-year term, with a two-term limit. Andrzej Duda's first term expired on 6 August 2020 when he reaffirmed his oath of office before the National Assembly, a joint session of the Sejm and Senate and began his second term.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the president must be elected by an absolute majority of valid votes. If no candidate succeeds in passing this threshold in the first round, a second round of voting is held with the two candidates who received the largest shares of the vote.

In order to be registered to contest the election, a candidate must be a Polish citizen, be at least 35 years old on the day of the first round of the election, and have collected at least 100,000 voters' signatures by 10 June 2020 at midnight.[6]

Polls opened on election day at 07:00 CEST and closed at 21:00 CEST (UTC+2).[7]

COVID-19, election timing, and controversy[edit]

The election was originally scheduled for 10 May 2020, which caused extreme political controversy related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many candidates,[8] constitutionalists,[9] and even politicians from the ruling coalition[10] criticized the government's plan of holding the election as originally scheduled during the pandemic. As a compromise, the Agreement political party proposed lengthening the president's term by two years, which was supported by the Minister of Health, Łukasz Szumowski.[11] This was rejected by the opposition. The main opposition party, Civic Platform, wanted the election to be held in May 2021.[12] The ruling, conservative party Law and Justice, also wished to change the electoral rules[13] and to organize the election by postal voting only. Changing election rules less than six months prior to voting was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Tribunal in 2011.[14] Voting only by post is considered unconstitutional by some including Polish Supreme Court in a non-binding opinion.[15][16][17]

Email requests by Poczta Polska for private data[edit]

At 02:26 early in the morning[18][19] on 23 April, every Polish mayor and city council president[20][21] received an anonymous, unsigned[22] e-mail from Poczta Polska (Polish Post) saying that they were required to deliver the private data of 30 million Polish citizens including their PESEL (national identification number), date of birth, address, and other private data in a .txt file format lacking any passwords or security.[23] Many Polish mayors and city council presidents,[24] lawyers, and other citizens[25] criticized the order to provide such private data, stating that the order violated the GDPR and Polish Law, since the legal act referred to in the email had no legal validity; it concerned a bill that was still undergoing legislative procedures. Citizens and other officials stated their intention to file a lawsuit[18][19][20] to the prosecutor's office about the possibility of crimes being committed by the government-run Poczta Polska and by the politicians responsible for the regulation.[20]

Electoral cards leakage[edit]

On 29 April 2020, 11 days before the planned election date, election candidate Stanisław Żółtek presented a copy of an electoral ballot at a press conference.[26][27] The copies contained the names of all the candidates and other forms to be filled by voters. Żółtek said that he received the ballots from workers of one of the companies that was printing and preparing electoral documents. Poczta Polska notified the Internal Security Agency about the leak. As of 2 May 2020, Polish law did not authorise Poczta Polska to organise postal voting except in a small number of special cases.[26]

Presidential election boycott[edit]

On 30 April 2020, three former Polish presidents and six prime ministers called for a boycott of 2020 presidential election, on the grounds that the election would be unconstitutional and could not guarantee the confidentiality of voters.[28][29]

Election day change[edit]

On 6 May, Jarosław Gowin, the leader of Agreement, and Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Law and Justice struck an agreement to move the election.[30] The two parties had earlier been engaged in a political struggle over whether the election should proceed in May.[31]

On 7 May, the Sejm approved legislation for the election to be held via postal ballot.[32] The same day, PKW announced that "The current legal regulation deprived the National Electoral Commission of the instruments necessary to perform its duties. In connection with the above, the National Electoral Commission informs voters, election committees, candidates, election administration and local government units that voting on 10 May 2020 cannot take place."[citation needed]

The movement of the election day was met with support[33][34] and opposition[35][36] from both the "anti" and "pro" Law and Justice spheres of Polish politics. An opinion poll for Rzeczpospolita, gauged public support for the Gowin-Kaczyński agreement at 43.5%, with 36.3% being against, and the rest undecided.[37]

Judgment of WSA court[edit]

On 15 September 2020, Wojewódzki sąd administracyjny (administrative court) (pl:Wojewódzki sąd administracyjny) in Warsaw judged that the decision of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to hold the elections only by correspondence way on 10 May 2020 was "gross violation of the law and was issued without [legal] grounds" and violated article 7 of the Polish Constitution, article 157, paragraph 1 and article 187, paragraph 1 and 2 of the Electoral Code.[38] The opposition demands Morawiecki's resignation.[39]

Candidate selection[edit]

Ballot paper (first round)
Ballot paper (second round)

The following candidates had been nominated by parties represented in the Sejm.

Law and Justice / United Right[edit]

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda was eligible to run for a second term. On 24 October 2019, in an open letter to the elected members of the Sejm and Senate, PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński announced that the party will strongly support Andrzej Duda in next year's presidential election. In the first round he won a plurality of 43.5% and went on to face challenger Rafał Trzaskowski in the second round in which he won re-election with 51.03% of the vote.[40]


Law and Justice[a]

Andrzej Duda
President of Poland
Member of European Parliament
Member of the Sejm

Civic Platform / Civic Coalition[edit]

Donald Tusk was widely expected to make a comeback in Polish politics and to run for President, all the more so given that his European office expired at the end of 2019.[41][42] However, in November 2019, he announced he would not run for the Polish Presidency, citing that he has "a bag of difficult, unpopular decisions since prime minister" that would burden his candidacy. He is said to have been advised against a run by private opinion polls. He decided to run instead for the leadership of the European People's Party.[43] As a result, party leader Grzegorz Schetyna decided to hold a convention in order to nominate a candidate for president. The primary was won by Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska.[44][45]

Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska resigned her candidacy on 15 May 2020 under pressure of falling poll numbers and her own party.[46][47] After this, Rafał Trzaskowski became the new candidate of the Civic Coalition.[48] He managed to receive over 1.6 million signatures, securing his eligibility to run in the election.[49] After receiving 30.46% of the vote in the first round he was defeated by the incumbent Andrzej Duda in the second round, winning 48.97% of the vote.


Civic Platform

Rafał Trzaskowski
Mayor of Warsaw
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Administration and Digitization

Ran, but withdrew before the election[edit]

Declared, but lost at the primary convention:


Polish Coalition[edit]

In December 2019, PSL chairman Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz announced that he would be launching a campaign for president.[53]

Polish People's Party

Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz Sejm 2016.JPG
Member of the Sejm
Minister of Labour and Social Policy


The Left[edit]

At the beginning of January 2020, Włodzimierz Czarzasty said that The Left would nominate Robert Biedroń.[55]


Robert Biedroń
JKRUK 20190219 ROBERT BIEDROŃ KIELCE DSCN2269 (cropped).jpg
Member of European Parliament
Mayor of Słupsk
Member of the Sejm


Confederation Liberty and Independence[edit]

The party held an open primary, a first in Polish politics. The 2019–20 Confederation presidential primary is modeled on the US style, with various rounds. Krzysztof Bosak was nominated during the final round of voting held at the convention in Warsaw on 18 January.


National Movement

Krzysztof Bosak
Krzysztof Bosak Sejm 2016.jpg
Member of the Sejm
(2005–2007, 2019–)

Declared, but lost in the primary election: [57]

Other candidates[edit]

These are candidates who collected the necessary 100,000 signatures supporting their candidacy to run, but were not supported by parties in the Sejm:


Rejected candidates[edit]

These following candidates made electoral comitties but failed to submit 100,000 signatures supporting their run by the 26 March deadline:[58]

  • Piotr Bakun – Economist
  • Marcin Bugajski – Political scientist
  • Roland Dubowski – President of the Association of Heirs of Polish War Veterans of the Second World War
  • Artur Głowacki – Businessman
  • Sławomir Grzywa – Leader of "Sami Swoi" ("All Good Friends")
  • Wiesław Lewicki – Chairman of "Normalny Kraj" ("Normal Country")
  • Andrzej Dariusz Placzyński – Businessman
  • Leszek Samborski – Former Member of the Sejm
  • Grzegorz Sowa – Businessman associated with 1Polska.pl
  • Romuald Starosielec – Journalist supported by "Unity of the Nation"
  • Paweł Świtoń – Businessman
  • Krzysztof Urbanowicz – Political activist
  • Andrzej Voigt – Businessman
  • Jerzy Walkowiak – Political activist

First round political debates[edit]

  • Newsweek – 15 June 2020 (cancelled)
  • TVP Info – 17 June 2020, 21:00; moderated by Michał Adamczyk.[59]
  • TVN24 – 19 June 2020 (cancelled)
  • Polsat News – 22 June 2020 (cancelled)
  • Onet – 24 June 2020 (cancelled)

Second round political debates[edit]

Duda and Trzaskowski both refused to take part in debates at each other's preferred media outlet and a proposal from Duda[60] and supported by Trzaskowski[61] to hold a joint debate hosted by TVP, Polsat and TVN was rejected by TVP Director Jacek Kurski.[62]

  • TVN, TVN24, Onet and WP joint debate – 19:25 (UTC+2), 2 July 2020 (cancelled by Duda's withdrawal)[63]
  • TVP Townhall debate - 21:00 (UTC+2), 6 July 2020 (only Duda appeared)[64]
  • Joint debate with more than 15 newsrooms, organized by Trzaskowski staff, announced the day before[65] – 20:30 (UTC+2), 6 July 2020 (only Trzaskowski appeared)[64][66]

Opinion polls[edit]

First round[edit]

2020 Polish presidential election polls for the first round.

Second round[edit]

2020 Polish presidential election polls for the second round.


Results of the first round.
Queue to vote just after the opening of the premises
Ballot box
First place candidate of the first round, by Voivodeship.
First place candidate of the second round, by Voivodeship.

As there was no outright winner in the first round the top two candidates Andrzej Duda and Rafał Trzaskowski advanced to the second round. Szymon Hołownia and Krzysztof Bosak were third and fourth place respectively. Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz and Robert Biedroń both underperformed expectations taking the fifth and sixth place.[67][68]

In the second round, there was a close race between Duda and Trzaskowski. Duda had a slight lead in 9:00 pm exit polls which gave him 50.4% of the vote to Trzaskowski's 49.6%. This was within the 2% margin of error leading to the pollster Ipsos announcing the race to be too close to call.[69] Duda's vote share eventually amounted to 51.03%, securing his reelection.

CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Andrzej DudaIndependent (PiS)8,450,51343.5010,440,64851.03
Rafał TrzaskowskiCivic Platform5,917,34030.4610,018,26348.97
Szymon HołowniaIndependent2,693,39713.87
Krzysztof BosakConfederation (RN)1,317,3806.78
Władysław Kosiniak-KamyszPolish People's Party459,3652.36
Robert BiedrońSpring432,1292.22
Stanisław ŻółtekCongress of the New Right45,4190.23
Marek JakubiakFederation for the Republic33,6520.17
Paweł TanajnoIndependent27,9090.14
Waldemar WitkowskiLabour Union27,2900.14
Mirosław PiotrowskiReal Europe Movement21,0650.11
Valid votes19,425,45999.7020,458,91199.14
Invalid/blank votes58,3010.30177,7240.86
Total votes19,483,760100.0020,636,635100.00
Registered voters/turnout30,204,79264.5130,268,46068.18
Source: PKW, PKW, PKW, PKW


After voting had ended, Andrzej Duda invited Rafał Trzaskowski to the Presidential Palace to "shake hands" and "end the campaign". Trzaskowski rejected and said that they could meet after announcing the official election results.[70] The next day, Trzaskowski congratulated Duda on his victory.[71]

US President Donald Trump,[72][73] President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen,[74] NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg,[75] Lega Nord leader and former Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini,[76] Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda,[76] UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson,[77] Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán,[78][79] Czech President Miloš Zeman,[79] Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová,[75] and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky[80] congratulated Duda on his victory.

Observers viewed the election results as illustrating a divided Polish society. They also predicted that PiS would continue pursuing its policies in a number of areas and clashing with the EU.[79][81][82][83] Duda performed strongest among older, rural, and eastern voters.[84]

Elections challenged[edit]

The Civic Platform party challenged results of the elections to the Polish Supreme Court, alleging irregularities and biased coverage by the state television. The appeal includes complaints from 2,000 people, containing accusations of problems with voter registry, ballot papers not being sent in time as well as issues with voting abroad. The TVP public broadcaster did not broadcast a single meeting of Trzaskowski with voters.[85][86][87][better source needed] Press.pl, a media-monitoring service, found that, between 3 and 16 June, nearly 97% of Wiadomości news stories devoted to Duda were positive while almost 87% of those on Trzaskowski were negative.[88]

The Supreme Court ruled the election valid,[89] stating that doubts about the television's honesty notwithstanding, TVP was not the only media source available for voters, and that voters were free to choose what media to watch.[90][91]

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights report[edit]

The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights investigated the election and found that it was "administered professionally despite the lack of legal clarity." The ODIHR also reported that the presidential campaign "was characterized by negative and intolerant rhetoric further polarizing an already adversarial political environment. [...] [T]he TVP [public broadcaster] failed in its legal duty to provide balanced and impartial coverage. Instead, it acted as a campaign vehicle for the incumbent and frequently portrayed his main challenger as a threat to Polish values and national interests. Some of the reporting was charged with xenophobic and anti-Semitic undertones."[5][92]


  1. ^ a b Although Duda was officially an independent, his campaign was endorsed and funded by Law and Justice.


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