Poles are going to vote today to elect a president. More than ten candidates are participating, but it is hoped that there will eventually be a conflict between incumbent President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw’s progressive mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. Some in the country considered it the most important election since the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
The elections were actually scheduled for May 10, but the crown surge put a key in the works. This appears to be beneficial to the opposition. After the postponement, the center-right opposition party Civic Platform Trzaskowski (48) moved forward and, since then, Duda’s victory (48), which was certain until two months ago, seems much less definitive. Neither candidate is expected to win an absolute majority today, which means that a second round will have to make the decision on July 12.
rule of law
According to research, there is a neck and neck dispute between Duda and Trzaskowski. The latter is conducting a pro-European campaign. “European priorities must be priorities for all of us,” he told Nieuwsuur. For example, where Duda, supported by the ruling PiS party, insists on his ultra-conservative views, Trzaskowski campaigns for LGBTI rights (labeled by Duda as a dangerous ideological movement).
Trzaskowski also wants to work in the fight against climate change and promises his voters to restore independence from the rule of law. The PiS party, which came to power in 2015, has been under attack for years because it would control the judiciary. AN a few years ago the European Commission even launched an exceptional Article 7 procedure against Warsaw, which could result in the loss of voting rights at the European Council. Among other things, a threatening veto from Hungary meant it never came.
The Court of Justice of the European Communities recently ruled that Poland measures suspend the work of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court. The disciplinary chamber, founded in 2017, can punish judges, but, according to the European Commission, it is a political body of the PiS party, designed to ward off unwanted judges. The Polish government invariably defends itself, pointing out the reforms needed to fight corruption.
Poland’s president is not all-powerful, but the ruling party may be in trouble if Trzaskowski resolves the struggle in his favor. He has already said he will use his veto to block bills that threaten the independence of the judiciary. Trzaskowski can also block the appointment of judges.
The battle for the voter takes place mainly in the interior and in the smaller cities of the province, where the PiS party traditionally finds its power base. But according to the research agency IBRIS, the panels are changing a little and Poles outside the big cities have begun to doubt Duda’s independence.
A second round seems almost certain and, according to a more recent survey, Duda would reach 45% and Trzaskowski, 46%.
Polling stations will close at 9 pm tonight and a first exit vote will take place.