Image Credit: AP
On Sunday, Poland will vote between President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. A recent poll showed that there is no clear lead in the race for election. The race is so close that a few voters could determine the next President of Poland.
Jaroslaw Flis, a political scientist from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, said, ‘The political situation is tense, the outcome may be a very close call, and that has pushed the coronavirus theme into the background.’
President Andrzej Duda is a populist leader and if he is reelected he and his party, Law and Justice (PIS), will stay in power until the next election which will be held in 2023. The party is considered to have reduced income inequality in the country of 38 million, which brought wide admiration in rural areas. The party also considers itself as a defender of Poland’s Catholic values.
‘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,’ President Duda said to reporters on Friday.
However, President Duda has been criticized for promoting divisions in society. Homophobia and anti-semitism increased under his rule. The President compared the LGBT ideology to a Soviet-era communist indoctrination.
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a former European Parliament lawmaker is liberal and pro-EU. He seeks to end the social division in the country and improve democracy. If Trzaskowski wins, who belongs to the political party, Civic Platform (PO), would give him veto power on laws passed by the ruling party. Trzaskowski would bring Poland closer to Europe. He has been subjected to attacks by religious conservatives for promoting gay rights, and for saying that he will introduce sex education in schools.
Mr. Trzaskowski wants a more open and tolerant Poland, and has repeatedly criticized PIS’s homophobia and anti-semitism.
‘Have you ever heard such homophobia, such anti-Semitism, such attacks on everybody who is brave enough to say ‘we have had enough’, Mr. Trzaskowski told his supporters on Friday. He said that he will block PIS’s judicial reforms and its attacks on minorities, but will keep its social benefit programmes and will not increase the retirement age.
Sunday’s vote will be held in strict sanitary conditions. Everyone is expected to come with a mask, maintain social distancing and use a hand sanitizer. Voters can use their own pens, and usage of gloves is being promoted. The polling stations will be regularly disinfected, and they are well-ventilated.