Poland begins voting in presidential election delayed by pandemic | Poland Information
Polish voters started casting their ballots on Sunday in spherical one in every of a good presidential race that needed to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Incumbent Andrzej Duda, 48, is campaigning for re-election in a vote that might decide the way forward for the right-wing authorities that helps him.
Polling stations opened at 7am (05:00 GMT) and can shut at 9pm (19:00 GMT) with an exit ballot anticipated as quickly as voting ends.
Ten candidates are vying to switch him, however opinion polls recommend that Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a liberal from the principle Civic Platform (PO) opposition occasion, will enter a neck-and-neck runoff on July 12.
Victory for Trzaskowski, additionally 48, would deal a heavy blow to the Regulation and Justice (PiS) authorities, which has relied on its ally Duda to endorse polarising laws, particularly judicial reforms.
Whereas the PiS insists the adjustments are wanted to weed out judicial corruption, critics and the European Union insist they erode judicial independence and democracy simply three many years after Poland shed communism.
US President Donald Trump, who regards the populist PiS administration as a key European ally, gave Duda his blessing this week.
Trump invited him to the White Home on Wednesday as the primary international chief to go to because the coronavirus pandemic started, simply 4 days forward of election day.
Polish PM defends controversial judiciary reform
Initially scheduled for Could, the poll was postponed as a result of pandemic and a brand new hybrid system of postal and traditional voting was put in place on Sunday in a bid to stem infections.
Whereas official figures present at the very least 33,000 confirmed circumstances and greater than 1,400 deaths, the well being minister has admitted that there are probably as much as 1.6 million undetected circumstances in Poland, an EU nation of 38 million folks.
Duda has promised to defend the governing occasion’s raft of fashionable social advantages, together with a baby allowance and further pension funds – a key issue behind the populists successful a second time period in October’s parliamentary election.
Bread and butter points are weighing closely on voters’ minds because the financial fallout of the pandemic is about to ship Poland into its first recession since communism’s demise.
“I am comfortable. I am unable to complain; I get an additional pension cost and kids are getting 500 zloty,” Irena, a 63-year-old pensioner, informed AFP within the central Polish city of Minsk Mazowiecki.
“I might like this to proceed,” she added, declining to supply her surname.
Duda has additionally echoed PiS assaults on LGBT+ rights and Western values, one thing analysts see as a bid to draw voters backing a far-right candidate.
Campaigning with the slogan “Sufficient is Sufficient”, Trzaskowski guarantees to make use of the expertise and contacts he gathered as a former European affairs minister to “struggle exhausting” for a good slice of the EU’s 2021-27 funds, and to restore tattered ties with Brussels.
He has, nonetheless, promised to maintain the PiS’s fashionable welfare funds.
Whereas many see his PO occasion as a weak and ineffectual opposition, Trzaskowski supporters regard him as a bulwark in opposition to the PiS’s drive to reform the courts, one thing they insist dangers destroying any notion of an impartial judiciary.
“I am a lawyer and this (PiS justice reforms) have an effect on me instantly,” Marek, 60, informed AFP in Minsk Mazowiecki, additionally declining to supply his surname.
“It is as if a blacksmith would go to a watchmaker’s store and attempt to put issues so as. Individuals may help it, however in the long term, these reforms should be reversed.”
Since successful energy in 2015, each Duda and the PiS have in some ways upended Polish politics by stoking tensions with the EU and wielding affect by way of state-owned firms and public broadcasters.
Some analysts view the election as a vital juncture: a second five-year time period for Duda would permit the PiS to make much more controversial adjustments whereas defeat might unravel the occasion’s energy.
A win for Duda would pave the best way to “bolstering ‘Jap’ tendencies, just like the rise of oligarchs … and a drift to the Budapest mannequin (of Hungary’s Viktor Orban) – that is the hazard,” Warsaw College political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska informed AFP.