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Polish President Andrzej Duda wins 2nd term with narrow margin

Andrzej Duda won 51.2 percent of the votes, while Trzaskowski won 48.97 percent.

Jul 14, 2020 11:55 IST
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Polish President Andrzej Duda narrowly beat his opponent Rafal Trzaskowski in the Presidential Elections held on July 12, 2020. The votes were counted on July 13.

The Polish Presidential Elections 2020 was the closest-ever Presidential election since the end of communist rule in the nation in 1989. Andrzej Duda won 51.2 percent of the votes, while Trzaskowski won 48.97 percent. The total voter turnout was 68.18 percent.

Andrzej Duda is a social conservative allied with the government headed by the nationalist Law and Justice Party. On the other hand, Rafal Trzaskowski is a social liberal mayor of Warsaw. 

Significance

Though the presidential election was the closest one in Poland till now after the fall of communism in 1989, President Duda still won more votes, meaning a clear mandate. The Polish government had promised during the campaign to continue its welfare schemes to help many Polish families come out of poverty amid the COVID pandemic. Besides this, one of the key election agendas was the future of Poland's strained relations with the European Union.

Key Highlights

•  The Polish Presidential elections were supposed to take place initially in May when Duda enjoyed a better majority and could have come out with a better result. 

•  The Polish Government had been keen on holding the May vote though the coronavirus pandemic had not yet peaked in the nation. 

•  Finally, the government decided to postpone the vote after it called out for putting politics before public health.

•  Duda's narrow win is now expected to pave way for controversial reforms to the judiciary and continued opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights.

•  The incumbent President was heavily criticised during his election campaign for commenting that LGBT rights were an ideology more destructive than communism. 

•  Poland is often referred to as the worst European nation when it comes to LGBT rights. 

Impact

Andrzej Duda's victory in President vote means that the Law and Justice Party (PiS) would be able to implement its programmes without any obstruction till the next Parliamentary Elections, which are scheduled after three years. The party may attempt to gain greater political control of the local government and media. 

Background 

Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party wants to complete its overhaul of the judiciary. The policy has been heavily criticised by the European Union as well as many other international organisations, as it undermines Poland's traditional rule of law. This has been the major cause of tension between Poland and the European Union. 

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