“Rafal, Rafal ! “ The applause filled the air. Rafal Trzaskowski, in blue jacket on white shirt, no tie, appears on stage. With its old brick houses with facades covered with vine, the market square of Olsztyn, a city of 600 000 inhabitants in the former east Prussia, is teeming with people. Under the flags Polish and european, a thousand people flocked to see the candidate in last-minute to the presidential election of Sunday 28 June.
Rafal Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, brings hope to the Polish opposition to a few days of the election. He was replaced at short notice the candidate Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, who collapsed in mid-may in the opinion polls, in favor of a postponement of the election because of a pandemic Covid-19. Centrist candidate of the Coalition civic (KB, liberal), is that it threatens the immediate past president, Andrzej Duda, from the conservative nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), in power since 2015.
In a few weeks, it has risen to the rank of leader of the opposition, bringing together more than 28 % of the latest voting intentions for the first round. Duda, himself, is credited with 41.5 %. Rafal Trzaskowski, however, could prevail on the 12th of July in the second round, narrowly, the other voters of the opposition, left, right, or far right, preferring to mostly defer their vote on him.
A promise of change
Rafal Trzaskowski is fully playing the card of protest. “Enough “, ” We are fed up ! “, one reads on the placards. “Tired of the hypocrisy, the propaganda, of the Church that meddles in everything “, lists Alina Szydlowska, 71 years, professor of EPS in retirement. “And the autocracy of a sick man “, referring to the leader of PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who for the past five years, pulling the strings without interfering directly.
The government majority will remain acquired to the PiS after the election. But in case of victory, Rafal Trzaskowski has promised to serve “counter-power” by capturing the full “right of veto and legislative initiative “ conferred on the president of the Republic. In the assistance, Tomasz Rozycki, 39, boss of the restaurant of a luxury hotel, do not expect anything. “I would hope that things change, that Poland is to be known for reasons other than the challenge to democracy “, he confides.
The mayor of Warsaw knows how to touch his audience. “The power wants to divide us, to oppose the towns, villages, countryside “, launches himself from the stage, while avoiding the subjects clivants in which the majority would like to lock him up. “Did you want to talk of migrants, the euro in Poland, the catechism at school or LGBT ? Is that what are the important issues, currently ? No ! This should concern us, these are the health services, the economy at the end of the pandemic, the education. “
After Olsztyn, the centrist candidate goes to 40 km from here, to Biskupiec, in a large village of 10 000 inhabitants. Among the 200 people waiting under the scorching sun, Aneta and Wiktoria, two high school students 18 years of age. “Rafal Trzaskowski is the only one to be able to dislodge Duda. We do not want a president-puppet who sign it just submits “, explains one. On the societal level also, they defend the candidate who has signed a charter against discrimination and stigmatization of LGBT people in Warsaw. “For us, the young people, it is very important, all men are equal “, continues the other.
A position that is far from being consensual in Poland, especially in towns of less than 20,000 inhabitants where Law and Justice scores. But then again, Rafal Trzaskowski integrates it into his speech. “I will not be president of the opposition total “, he promises, with the intent of supporting “positive proposals for the economy” or advanced on the “european budget “.