Surveys: Kaczynski 'loses' first Polish presidential debate
Presidential candidate Jaroslaw Kaczynski lost the first one-one-one debate with his opponent in the Polish presidential elections, opinion surveys said Monday.
Kaczynski, of the right-wing Law and Justice party, faced off Sunday night with Bronislaw Komorowski, of the centre-right Civic Platform party. The meeting was the first one-on-one debate in the elections held early to find a successor to Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash in Russia in April, DPA reported.
Some 63 per cent of Poles thought Komorowski won the debate, while 27 per cent thought Kaczynski was the victor, said an online survey of some 328,000 respondents on the website of broadcaster TVN 24.
According to the conservative Rzeczpospolita daily, some 52 per cent of Poles thought Komorowski had won the debate, while 28 per cent thought Kaczynski had won.
Komorowski was more relaxed than his opponent, the Rzeczpospolita said, while Kaczynski "spoke more like a head of state." But both candidates had fared "more or less the same," said columnist Piotr Semka.
Komorowski was more aggressive, while Kaczynski was calmer, the daily Wyborcza said.
"Komorowski was the more active. He argued more sharply with Kaczynski, and in certain moments even with the journalists asking the questions," the daily wrote. "Kaczynski was more withdrawn, and he spoke slower. It was apparent that, above all, he was trying to keep calm."
Analysts have said Kaczynski was changing his image as an aggressive politician, known for his harsh critiques of Russia, to a warmer and more diplomatic candidate.
During the debate, Komorowski had stressed Poland's need to play a stronger role in the European Union and was more liberal on social issues. Komorowski had received some 41 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting on June 20.
Kaczynski was more hesitant to build relations with Russia and emphasized traditional values. Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of deceased President Lech, had received some 36 per cent of the vote in the first round.
Poles will vote in a runoff on July 4 as there was no majority winner in the first round.
The debate on Sunday - broadcast on five news channels in Poland - centered on foreign policy, the economy and domestic issues.