Left Menu
Development News Edition

Poles vote in presidential election that could define EU relations

Duda's re-election is crucial if PiS is to deepen judicial reforms that the European Union says increase political control over the courts. The president holds the power of veto and Trzaskowski has said he will block legislation that he believes would undermine democratic norms.

Reuters | Updated: 12-07-2020 04:30 IST | Created: 12-07-2020 04:30 IST
Poles vote in presidential election that could define EU relations

Poles vote on Sunday in a knife-edge presidential election that may shape the country's future relations with the European Union, which have been frayed by the bloc's concerns over the rule of law.

Incumbent Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS), takes on liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski after a campaign that has shown sharply contrasting visions for the future and exposed deep political divisions. Duda's re-election is crucial if PiS is to deepen judicial reforms that the European Union says increase political control over the courts.

The president holds the power of veto and Trzaskowski has said he will block legislation that he believes would undermine democratic norms. Given that Poland's president holds few executive powers, it is unlikely Trzaskowski could bring about significant change if he won. But with the presidency as well as the upper house of parliament in opposition hands, PiS's ability to implement its agenda would be hampered.

The election is a run-off after a first round on June 28. Polling stations open at 0500 GMT and close at 1900 GMT, at which point the results of an exit poll will be announced. Duda has painted himself as a defender of Poland's Catholic values and the generous social benefit programmes that have transformed life for many, especially in the poorer rural regions of the country, the EU's largest post-communist member.

"I believe we can build the Poland we dream of, a fair Poland, a rich Poland, a strong Poland... a Poland that can protect the weak and doesn't have to fear the strong," Duda told supporters on Friday, asking them to compare their standard of living now with what it was before he took office. However, while Duda vows to stand on the side of the weak, critics say his campaign has also drawn on homophobia and anti-Semitism.

He has compared what he calls LGBT "ideology" to Soviet-era communist indoctrination, while state TV, the mouthpiece of the government, has used the sensitive issue of Jewish property restitution to attack Trzaskowski. "There are very energetic attempts, and at the centre of these attempts is Mr Trzaskowski, to see to it that in Poland different kinds of minorities can... terrorise the rest," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of PiS and Poland's de-facto ruler.

Trzaskowski became a target for religious conservatives for promoting gay rights after he took part in pride marches and pledged to introduce sex education classes in Warsaw schools. MORE TOLERANT POLAND

Trzaskowski says he seeks a more open, tolerant Poland and has criticised PiS's rhetoric, while vowing to abolish state news channel TVP Info. "Have you ever heard such homophobia, such anti-Semitism, such attacks on everybody who is brave enough to say 'we have had enough'," he asked supporters on Friday, contrasting PiS's use of language with that of opposition politicians.

But while vowing to block PiS's judicial reforms and condemning attacks on minorities, Trzaskowski has stressed that he would leave PiS's popular social benefit programmes intact and not seek to raise the retirement age. Trzaskowski has tried to portray himself as someone who can unite a divided nation, but many observers say a period of bitter conflict between the PiS dominated parliament and the presidential palace awaits if he wins.

For Adam Schulz, a 36-year-old office worker enjoying an ice-cream in the central Warsaw sunshine, it is this deep division that could drive Sunday's turnout to record levels. "As the years go by polarisation on the political scene means that more and more people want to express their opinions... that is why I think there is more interest," he said. "There is no conversation between these sides."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

5G will be the key driving force for COVID-19 recovery: Here's how?

... ...

Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

Videos

Latest News

Fire breaks out at godown in Delhi

A fire broke out at a godown in southeast Delhis Okhla area on Saturday morning, officials said. The fire department said it received information regarding the blaze around 9 am.Ten fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The godown is locate...

Delighted with achieving 8-2 result against Barcelona: Hansi Flick

After giving an 8-2 hiding to Barcelona in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Bayern Munichs manager Hansi Flick said that the side is extremely delighted with the result. Barcelona ended up conceding eight goals in a match for the ...

MP govt to develop Ram Van Gaman Path, Ramayan Circuit: CM

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said the government will develop Ram Van Gaman Path and Ramayan Circuit in the state to boost tourism. He was speaking at the state-level Independence Day function after unfurl...

Minorities seek answers from Pakistan as many continue to disappear

By Reena Bhardwaj Just four days ago Sarang Joyo went missing from his home in Karachi. Joyo, a research associate by profession, was actively campaigning for the release of the many missing persons of Sindh.Struggling for Joyos release, hi...

Give Feedback