An MEP and lawyer with a populist streak, Duda scored 53 per cent support ahead of Komorowski, who mustered 47 per cent, exit polls showed, giving a key indicator of the national mood ahead of an autumn parliamentary election.

Now 43, Duda sees himself as spiritual and political heir to Kaczynski, recalling how, two days before the flight, the president told him that a generational change was afoot, and that it would be Duda and his peers who would take responsibility for the future of the country.

When I remembered this after the crash, it sent shivers down my spine,” Duda told Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

Speaking to wild applause at his Warsaw campaign headquarters, Duda said: "Thank you, President Bronislaw Komorowski for the rivalry of this presidential campaign and for your congratulations."
"Those who voted for me, voted for change. Together we can change Poland."
Komorowski was quick to concede defeat yesterday and said his loss was also a warning signal to his political allies in government.
"This is the decision of the citizens of a free and democratic Poland, so I congratulate my rival, Mr Andrzej Duda and I wish him a successful presidency because I wish Poland well," he told supporters in Warsaw.

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