How could Poland’s elections affect Europe?

By Clara Palma Hermann

Warsaw, Jun 27 (EFE).- As Poles prepare to head to the polls for Sunday’s presidential elections, Europeans await results that could sway a eurosceptic trend sweeping the east of the continent which could be shaken by a surprise opposition candidate who is the bloc’s hope for a united front.

While the election is to elect a largely ceremonial post, incumbent Andrej Duda has so far propped up the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in power.

The latest polls give Duda a ten point lead on pro-European Rafal Trzaskowski, of the liberal Civic Platform (PO) and current mayor of Warsaw.

If neither candidate draws more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a second round of elections on 12 July.

For centrists and liberals, Poland’s return to a prgoressive and European driven agenda is at stake, after years of what many consider an increasingly retrograde and authoritarian drift.

“These elections will decide whether we join Hungary, Russia, Eastern Europe or whether we go back to the West,” says Patrick, an editor who attended Trzaskowski’s closing campaign wrapped in a European Union flag.

Duda voters prioritize national sovereignty over foreign interference and maintain that the PiS government, in power since 2015, has fulfilled its promise of social measures for those who were abandoned by the previous liberal executive.

“I am very happy with the government and I would like Duda to be president for another five years,” says Grzegorz, a middle-aged social worker who wants young people on a low-income to stay in Poland instead of moving abroad.

If Trzaskowski won the presidential battle, his ability to maneuver would not go beyond the power to veto decisions of the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish Parliament) where the PiS has 235 of the 460 seats.

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