Rafal trzaskowski finished his address into the cobbled marketplace square of skierniewice, a midsized town in central poland, by accusing their presidential rival andrzej duda of lacking the nerve to stand as much as the ruling legislation and justice party (pis).

All he does is wait for all of them to send him laws during the night to signal. is the fact that genuine courage? mr trzaskowski stated of incumbent. today we truly need a president who's strong, who can assist the federal government with regards to would like to help residents. but that will be tough if the federal government would like to create your everyday lives much harder.

The salvo received applause from the couple of hundred those who had turned out to support mr trzaskowski. but mr dudas followers had not remaining skierniewice uncontested. as mr trzaskowski ready to talk, an automobile towing a massive pro-duda billboard did laps for the square. posters backing the incumbent hung from several balconies. and on the list of crowd, a lone duda supporter presented aloft a banner comparing mr trzaskowski towards roman conspirator catiline even though it drew small interest because it was printed in latin.

Mr duda and mr trzaskowski face each other on july 12 when you look at the 2nd round of a bitterly contested presidential election that both sides of polands partisan divide have billed as a fork inside roadway the country. in accordance with polls predicting a neck-and-neck competition, midsized towns for instance the 47,000-strong skierniewice is going to be an essential battlefield.

Mr duda, supported by the conservative-nationalist pis, won the first round last week with 43.5 percent regarding the national vote, attracting powerful assistance from the socially conventional voters which take over polands country and provincial cities.

Mr trzaskowski, gran of warsaw and an associate of polands main opposition group, the centre-right civic coalition, arrived 2nd with 30.5 %. he scored most readily useful among liberal voters in huge towns and cities, such as for example warsaw, poznan and lodz. however with just 24.8 percent of voters residing in locations with over 100,000 inhabitants, he will should appeal to voters in smaller towns if he could be to overtake mr duda.

In skierniewice, that will be surrounded by orchards and fresh fruit facilities struck difficult by drought lately, mr trzaskowski made battling environment modification and working with regional liquid dilemmas central to his pitch.

A year ago, the water virtually dry out. sooner or later we didnt have any within our taps, stated malgorzata, a social employee enthused by their plans. if we do not do just about anything about this, it'll be a tragedy.

For most in crowd, but the key concern was the state of polish democracy. since pis stumbled on power in 2015, it has introduced benefit guidelines which have enhanced the life of several poorer poles. however it has additionally undermined democratic checks and balances, threatened the liberty of judiciary and captured the general public news.

The modifications have set warsaw, as soon as viewed as the poster son or daughter of the eus 2004 east growth, at loggerheads with brussels. many liberal voters genuinely believe that a win for mr trzaskowski, which will give the opposition control of the presidencys veto powers, is the best way to avoid pis performing deeper problems for polish democracy.

The actions of this existing government tend to be destroying the country. theyre just destroying it. the process of law. customs. the education system. everything, said barbara omiecinska, a pensioner who came from the nearby village of dabrowice to see mr trzaskowski talk. [within these elections] we are fighting for freedom, democracy. regrettably thats just how it's.

Issues about making pis unchecked may help mr trzaskowski pick up voters whom backed various other resistance prospects when you look at the june election, for instance the separate szymon holownia, whom won 13.9 %, and leftwing robert biedron, who won 2.2 %.

Of program i am going to vote for trzaskowski...for me personally the decision goes without saying, said magdalena placek, a 35-year-old whom owns a small business making orchard equipment, and voted for mr biedron in the first round. since ive had the right to vote, ive never ever already been as associated with an election as i am today.

But mr trzaskowski nevertheless deals with a formidable challenge to unseat mr duda. numerous in polands smaller cities look at their help for liberal reasons such lgbt rights as a threat toward countrys old-fashioned catholic values. the benefit guidelines of pis stay hugely popular. and also after five years off energy, civic coalition continues to be a toxic brand name for all voters.

Civic platform [the forerunner of civic coalition] had been a vassal condition of brussels. it was positively visible, said piotr, whom introduced the latin advertising to mr trzaskowskis rally. before polish frontrunners went along to moscow for an eco-friendly light for certain things. civic platform officials had been going to brussels and having a clap in the straight back from [german chancellor angela] merkel.

Zbyszek, whom runs a stall at a vegetable marketplace a few minutes walk from mr trzaskowskis rally, ended up being similarly unenthused. its difficult to state [who has the better programme], but i think it is duda, he said. in poland we have two parties that are battling each other...and of those two evils i am picking law and justice. the smaller evil.

In an attempt to attract modest pis voters, mr trzaskowski features over and over insisted he will never abandon the partys popular child benefit scheme, or raise the retirement. in skierniewice, he admitted that civic system had made mistakes, and also distanced himself from the previous leader, donald tusk.

His supporters concede the battle goes down to the wire. we would like [trzaskowski] to win. mr duda is the past. hes maybe not genuine. hes perhaps not a president for those times, said ms omiecinska. [but] its 50-50.