2020 POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE SHADOW OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

upa-admin 14 Temmuz 2020 2.595 Okunma 0
2020 POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN THE SHADOW OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In the second round of presidential election in Poland (July, 12 2020) actual Polish president Andrzej Duda has been reelected after defeating liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski.[1] The National Electoral Commission (PKW) has announced nearly final results election results collected from more than 99 percent of polling stations. Andrzej Duda has won 51,08 percent of votes, while Rafał Trzaskowski – 48,92 percent. The difference between the two candidates equals nearly 500,000 votes.[2]

The biggest surprise was very high turnout, reached nearly 69 per cent as polls closed, the second highest for any presidential election in Poland since the return of democracy in 1989. It was significantly higher than in the first round of voting (despite the pandemic and holiday period), particularly in smaller towns, which have traditionally favoured Duda, but there were also more than half a million votes from Poles living abroad – who favoured Mr Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw – a record number.

The last night battle for votes between two candidates was very exciting. An initial exit poll put the gap between the two candidates at less than 0.8 per cent, and both men claimed in their speeches that they were confident that they had won.[3]

Newly elected Polish President Andrzej Duda is allied with the ruling conservative and nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) Party, and his victory is assessed to reinforce the government’s mandate to pursue reforms of the judiciary and media which the European Commission says subvert democratic standards. Duda has largely backed the PiS policies.[4]

Pro-EU Rafał Trzaskowski in turn, who is part of the liberal Civic Platform (PO), was hope for repair Poland’s relations with Europe and use the presidential veto power to hold back any legislation that would subvert the rule of law, dismissed the accusations.[5] The two presidential contenders are also fiercely split on the issue of LGBT rights within the country.

Considering that the challenger was up against a powerful state media apparatus controlled by the ruling party as well as constraints on campaigning and rallies imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Trzaskowski’s team ran one of the most impressive campaigns in post-1989 Poland.

Election results 2020. How did Poles vote abroad?

Rafał Trzaskowski won the second round of presidential elections with Andrzej Duda abroad, among others in Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, France (Paris), Spain, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic or mainland China and the Far East (Asia), Russia (Moscow). Whereas Duda won in the largest communities of Polonia in the United States (Chicago and New York) and in our estaren neighbours in Ukraine (Lviv), Belarus.

What the future hold?

The vote had been widely seen as a battle for the country’s future direction, as well as its strained relations with the European Union. The first exam of Poland’s position in the EU will be next week’s EU budget summit. Mr Duda’s win is expected to strengthen the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), which backed him, allowing it to make further controversial reforms to the judiciary, which have brought much criticism from Poland’s international partners.

 

Dr. Beata PISKORSKA

 

[1] Mr. Duda began the election campaign as firm favourite, and when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit Poland in the spring, his support briefly soared towards 60 per cent. However, after the election was postponed from its original date of May 10, the opposition replaced its struggling candidate, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, whose support had dropped into single digits, with Mr Trzaskowski, and the race narrowed sharply.

[2] https://wybory.gov.pl/prezydent20200628/.

[3] “Poland’s conservative president narrowly wins second term in office”, https://emerging-europe.com/news/polands-conservative-president-narrowly-wins-second-term-in-office/.

[4] L. Hurst, “Poland presidential election 2020: Who is Rafał Trzaskowski?”, https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/10/who-is-rafa-trzaskowski-the-mayor-of-warsaw-challenging-for-poland-s-presidency.

[5] M. Kisilowski, “What Poland tells us about the fight against populism, Lessons for European democrats from a challenger’s defeat”, https://www.politico.eu/article/what-poland-andrzej-duda-rafal-trzaskowski-tells-us-about-the-fight-against-populism/.

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