Poland votes in tight, high-stakes presidential run-off

People wearing protective face masks attend a voting during the presidential election at a polling station in Warsaw, Poland June 28, 2020. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND.


Poles vote on Sunday in a knife-edge presidential election that will form the nation’s future relations with the European Union, which have been frayed by the bloc’s considerations over the rule of regulation.

Incumbent Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS), takes on liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski after a marketing campaign that has proven sharply contrasting visions for the long run and uncovered deep political divisions.

Duda’s re-election is essential if PiS is to deepen judicial reforms that the European Union says enhance political management over the courts.

The president holds the ability of veto and Trzaskowski has stated he’ll block laws that he believes would undermine democratic norms.

Given that Poland’s president holds few government powers, it’s unlikely Trzaskowski may result in important change if he received. But with the presidency in addition to the higher home of parliament in opposition fingers, PiS’s capacity to implement its agenda could be hampered.

The election is a run-off after a primary spherical on June 28.

Polling stations open at 0500 GMT and shut at 1900 GMT, at which level the outcomes of an exit ballot shall be introduced.

Duda has painted himself as a defender of Poland’s Catholic values and the beneficiant social profit programmes which have reworked life for a lot of, particularly within the poorer rural areas of the nation, 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 advised supporters on Friday, asking them to check their lifestyle now with what it was earlier than he took workplace.

However, whereas Duda vows to face on the facet of the weak, critics say his marketing campaign has additionally drawn on homophobia and anti-Semitism.

>> Read extra: LGBT rights on the coronary heart of Poland’s presidential ballot battle

He has in contrast what he calls LGBT “ideology” to Soviet-era communist indoctrination, whereas state TV, the mouthpiece of the federal government, has used the delicate problem of Jewish property restitution to assault 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,” stated Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the chief of PiS and Poland’s de-facto ruler.

Trzaskowski turned a goal for non secular conservatives for selling homosexual rights after he took half in delight marches and pledged to introduce intercourse training courses in Warsaw faculties.

More tolerant Poland

Trzaskowski says he seeks a extra open, tolerant Poland and has criticised PiS’s rhetoric, whereas vowing to abolish state information 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 requested supporters on Friday, contrasting PiS’s use of language with that of opposition politicians.

But whereas vowing to dam PiS’s judicial reforms and condemning assaults on minorities, Trzaskowski has confused that he would depart PiS’s common social profit programmes intact and never search to boost the retirement age.

Trzaskowski has tried to painting himself as somebody who can unite a divided nation, however many observers say a interval of bitter battle between the PiS dominated parliament and the presidential palace awaits if he wins.

For Adam Schulz, a 36-year-old workplace employee having fun with an ice-cream within the central Warsaw sunshine, it’s this deep division that might drive Sunday’s turnout to file ranges.

“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 stated. “There is no conversation between these sides.”