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Exit polls predict Komorowski in second place in Polish elections

A surprise exit poll result has seen Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski come in second place in presidential elections. He is still widely tipped to win the election in a second, runoff round.

According to exit poll results published by IPSOS, conservative opposition candidate Andrzej Duda looks to win the most votes in this first round of voting.

This means he will likely face

President Bronislaw Komorowski

in a run-off vote on May 24.

The polls show Duda winning 34.8 percent of the vote compared to Komorowski's 32.2 percent.

"Change in Poland begins with change in the presidency," Duda told followers.

Earlier opinion polls had shown the incumbent enjoying a considerable margin.

Center-right Komorowski is looking to secure a second five-year term in office. He has held the top job since 2010, following the death of his predecessor in a plane crash.

Komorowski described the forecast result a "serious warning" to those who want to have a "reasonable Poland."

Coming third in the polls was rock musician Pawel Kukiz, with 20.3 percent. The outcome of the run-off vote is likely to center on which of the two candidates he endorses.

In the past Kukiz has backed allies of Komorowski.

The defeat is a blow to Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, who will run against Duda's Law and Justice Party in parliamentary elections later in the year.

Komorowski told his supporters at the national stadium in Warsaw that despite the result, he still believed he would be re-elected.

"Let's not have any illusions. We face hard work, a hard fight, but I am convinced that we are also facing victory," he said.

The 62-year-old has focused his campaign on national security, counting on people's fears around Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

Duda has pledged to lower the retirement age, and warned against adopting the euro.

Official results aren't expected before late Monday.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the two with the biggest share will face-off in May's run-off ballot.

The exit poll estimated voter turnout at around 49.4 percent.

an/bw (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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