TORONTO - Europe’s first nation-wide election in a Covid-19 has produced an encouraging result for conservatives.
But it is not over yet.
Poland’s presidential election was held this past Sunday with the incumbent Andrzej Duda receiving 43.7% of the vote (according to the Nation Electoral Commission).
Close rival, Rafał Trzaskowski (liberal-centre right), received 30.3% of the vote followed by Szymon Hołownia with 13.8%.
In the first Presidential election in the
European Union since the outbreak of Covid-19, the election failed to determine a clear victor. Neither candidate received the necessary 50% of the vote needed to avoid a run-off.
Poland will be heading into a second
round of voting scheduled for July 12.
Duda, aligned with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) was favoured to win in May when the elections were originally scheduled to take place.
Covid-19 infections were still on the rise. Government faced pressure and criticism from the opposition saying that the PiS was putting politics before public health.
The Government eventually backed down and rescheduled the election to this past Sunday. Poland has reported over 34,000 confirmed positive Covid-19
cases; however, that is fewer than other
western European countries. In the last month, life has returned to some sort of normal in Poland. Despite social distancing restrictions, voter turnout was at it is highest.
Nearly 64% of eligible voters turned
up in person to cast their vote. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, that is
considerably higher than the 2015 Presidential Election which had seen a 49% voter turnout.
Duda campaigned on a deeply conservative social agenda. His attacks on “LGBT ideology” and pledge to “defend children from LGBT ideology”, rhetoric that is popular among parts of PiS conservative base and the Catholic church.
However, this has drawn criticism among the nation’s citizens and those abroad.
Duda’s close rival, Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, candidate for the Civic Coalition (KO) has been a supporter of LGBT rights. The delay in the election allowed for Trzaskowski, to enter the race and gain momentum.
Trzaskowski has pledged to heal the rift between the European Union.
The PiS has been in conflict with the European Union over its controversial reform and control over the courts. The party has been accused of erosion of rule of law since coming into power in 2015.
July 12 will determine whether Duda will win his second five-year term and allow the ruling party, PiS, to continue its political power in Poland.
Andrzej Duda receiving 43.7% of the vote (according to the Nation Electoral Commission).
Photo: Rafał Trzaskowski and Andrzej Duda (WOJTEC RADWANSKI e JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)