The presidential campaign in Poland goes to the finish line. The current president Andrzej Duda and the candidate from the opposition coalition, the mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Tshaskovsky, entered the second round of elections. It is impossible to predict which of them will win the July 12 elections, Kommersant’s observer believes. Galina Dudina.
The first round of the presidential election in Poland still took place. It was supposed to be held on April 10, but in a pandemic, the authorities did not want to conduct entirely face-to-face elections and did not have time to amend the electoral law, allowing, in particular, voting by mail. So in April, it was decided simply not to open polling stations. After April 10, the vote was declared invalid and a new election date was set for June 28.
As a result, on Sunday, the Poles lined up in front of the polling stations: you could go inside only in masks and so as not to crowd – one person per four square meters of floor space. Many were able to vote in advance by mail thanks to the amendments to the electoral law that came into force. This opportunity was used by more than half a million voters.
However, if in April the ratings of President Andrzej Duda predicted victory for him almost in the first round, by June the Poles ceased to think that the president and the ruling Law and Justice party were coping so well with the crisis caused by the pandemic.
His position was complicated by the replacement of the main opponent. The main opposition force – the “Civil Coalition” – was originally supposed to be represented by an experienced politician, vice speaker of the lower house of parliament, Malgožata Kidava Blonska. However, after the April vote that did not take place, the mayor of Warsaw, 48-year-old Rafal Tshaskovsky, was nominated instead. In just a couple of months, he was able to almost catch up in the polls of the incumbent president – especially in those where it was proposed to make a choice between the two politicians.
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Tshaskovsky
Фото: Aleksandra Szmigiel, Reuters
Less than a week before the election, Mr. Duda flew to the United States for almost two days, where he held talks with US President Donald Trump. Apparently, his entourage suggested that a meeting with the American leader would bring political dividends to the president. True, contrary to the hopes of Polish politicians, Mr. Trump did not clarify the prospects for the redeployment of American troops from Germany to Poland and did not declare any significant agreements in the field of defense and security, confining himself to general statements. But, apparently, the rapid flight across the Atlantic still brought Mr. Dude extra points. According to polls, about a week before the election, about 41% of voters supported him. As a result, according to exit polls as of Monday morning, almost 43% of voters voted for him, and according to the results of processing 82% of the ballots, his result was already 45.7%.
«The advantage is great. I am very grateful, ”Mr. Duda assured his supporters immediately after the closure of polling stations.
Acting President of Poland Andrzej Duda
Фото: Kacper Pempel REFILE – CORRECTING LOCATION, Reuters
Less than 30% of voters supported his rival, but this is a good result, considering that in April his rating was only about 10%. Now it’s important how the candidates who take the next places will behave, for example, independent candidate, journalist and TV presenter Shimon Hololovna (13.3% of the vote) and Krzysztof Bosak (7.4%). If their supporters support the opposition candidate, then President Duda, with his predominantly provincial conservative electorate, traditionally supporting Law and Justice, may lose his post.
“I have no doubt that the voters of Vladislav Kosinyak-Kamysh look at family values as I do,” said President Duda, in turn, speaking about the voters of the candidate from the Polish Peasant Party Vladislav Kosinyak-Kamysh (2.6% votes).
Earlier, the president sharply opposed permission to enter into same-sex marriage, reminding voters: the family is a union of a man and a woman.
His main opponent, in turn, shows much greater tolerance for same-sex unions. The President also hopes for the support of Krzysztof Bosak supporters. And if he manages to once again take the presidency, then the average salary in Poland will rise to € 2 thousand, Mr. Duda is sure. “In Poland, they must finally earn money as in the rich countries of Western Europe,” he said.
“More than 58% of our society wants change,” the mayor of Warsaw commented on the results of the first round of elections. “I will be your candidate, I will be a candidate for change.”
True, in relations with Moscow, even a change in the president of Poland hardly threatens radical changes. On the eve of the election, Andrzej Duda tried to blame his opponent that in 2014, when “Russia attacked Ukraine,” his party “Civic Platform” (now “Civic Coalition”) was in power and could not provide the Poles with a sense of security. To which Mr. Tshaskovsky retorted: there are questions, such as the presence of American troops in Poland and “Russian aggression against Ukraine,” which do not cause disagreements between the government and the opposition, and President Dude should not have used them “for political games.”