(Update 1: Changes headline and adds detail throughout)
Warsaw, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- Polling stations opened in Poland on Sunday amid strict hygiene and social distancing measures for a presidential ballot that has pitched the ruling nationalists against pro-European liberals.
This is one of the first elections to be held in Europe since the pandemic emerged and Poles have been given the option of a postal vote to minimize the risk of contagion.
Despite this, authorities said only 13,000 voters in the capital would use this option.
Shortly after 7. 00 am local time, polling stations opened and the first voters trickled in.
By midday, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) had recorded a 24.8 percent voter turnout across the more than 25,000 polling stations in the country, something NEC chairman Sylwester Marciniak described as “good news”.
Marciniak told reporters there was a high influx of voters in the early morning and said the queues that had formed at some stations could be due to the strict norms in place to curb the spread of infection.
On Friday, NEC chief Magdalena Pietrzak told 30 million Poles who are eligible to vote that masks and social distancing would be mandatory, local media reported.
Warsaw awoke to scorching Summer temperatures, but this didn’t deter voters with 29 percent of the census turning out to vote by noon, just five hours after polling stations opened.
Some experts say this could be indicative of a mobilization of opposition voters turning out against incumbent President Andrzej Duda.