By Drew Hinshaw and Natalia Ojewska 

WARSAW—Poland’s President Andrzej Duda won the first round of an election on Sunday, but without the simple majority he needed to avoid a runoff, as turnout broke quarter-century-old records in the European Union’s first national election since the coronavirus pandemic swept the continent.

Mr. Duda won 42% of the vote, according to exit polls published by independent broadcaster TVN, in an election in which authorities weren’t sure how many voters would brave Covid-19 to cast ballots. Some 63% of eligible voters ultimately showed up, the highest such participation since 1995, when the country was only a few years removed from Communism.

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