Trump Ally Duda Wins Presidential Election in Poland

July 13, 2020 Updated: July 13, 2020

WARSAW—President of Poland and Trump ally Andrzej Duda has won a second term in office in a closely fought election that saw him defeat challenger Rafal Trzaskowski.

Results from 99.98 percent of polling stations show that Duda, who is aligned with the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, received 51.12 percent of the vote, Poland’s National Election Commission said July 13.

The commission didn’t indicate when it would announce the final official result, with some polling stations still to submit their counts. Electoral officials noted at a press conference that the remaining uncounted votes aren’t likely to change the result.

Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, who is affiliated with Poland’s main opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, received 48.88 percent of the vote.

“Congratulations to Andrzej Duda,” Trzaskowski conceded on Twitter. “I hope this term of his will, indeed, be different.” He was apparently referring to a statement made by Duda at a July 10 campaign event, where the incumbent said his second term would differ from his first.

Epoch Times Photo
Mayor of Warsaw and presidential candidate Rafal Trzaskowski addresses his supporters following the announcement of the presidential election’s exit poll results in Warsaw, Poland, on July 12, 2020. (Kuba Atys/Agencja Gazeta via Reuters)

“In the second term, a president answers only to God, history, and the nation, and that is how I will govern,” Duda said.

Duda won five more years in power on a deeply conservative platform after a closely fought election that saw a near-record turnout of more than 68 percent.

“It will be a different term of office because Poland is different,” Duda said at the campaign event. “The question is between the past and the future. I pick the future.”

Duda ran a campaign in which he accused Trzaskowski of putting foreign interests ahead of Poland’s and blasted his challenger for seeking to subvert the country’s traditional, Catholic values.

Trzaskowski vowed in his campaign to make Poland more tolerant and said he would strengthen the rights of minorities. He sparked controversy among conservative voters by pledging to introduce education about LGBT rights in Warsaw schools.

Adam Bielan, a spokesperson for Duda’s campaign, warned voters who may not be fully on board with the policies of the incumbent, the tone of his campaign, or his close alignment with PiS, that a vote for Trzaskowski would mean a “war at the top, a years-long conflict between the president and the government, blocking everything put forward by the government.” A campaign spot put out by Duda’s camp warned Trzaskowski aimed to block investment and social programs and that his platform amounted to “Veto, veto, veto!”

Economic policy was a central theme of the campaign, with Duda portraying himself as a guardian of generous PiS welfare programs, while painting Trzaskowski as someone who sought to cut benefits that have transformed the lives of many poorer Poles.

Duda’s victory also gives the government a new mandate to pursue controversial reforms of the judiciary, which have been criticized by the European Union’s executive body for undermining the separation of powers. Leaders of the ruling PiS party insist the changes are necessary to purge any remaining vestiges of the country’s communist past from Poland’s courts.

With the next general election scheduled for 2023, PiS now faces the prospect of three more years of uninterrupted rule in which to press ahead with its bold reform agenda that it calls “dobra zmiana,” which roughly translates to “a change for the better.”

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