Poland in suspense: the sovereignist Duda forced to run the ballot – La Stampa


The first step towards what the future of Poland will be, whatever it is, has been taken. For now, in closed ballot boxes, the only certainty is that President Duda’s smile, in pursuit of a smooth and unhindered reconfirmation, has lost its proverbial sparkle.

What just two months ago seemed like a formality to pay for democracy – the vote – turned into a battle between the champion of sovereigns and his nemesis, the mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, who yesterday forced the conservative president in the second round. With the ballot box closed, the exit polls confirm the hopes of the opposition Civic Platform (epigon of Solidarność): the outgoing president Duda, with 41.8% of the votes, would not have reached the majority of 50%, shattered by the Trzaskowski, who, in a flash election campaign set up in a month, would have managed to take home 30.4% of the votes. And now, with other candidates who have already promised their support to the mayor of Warsaw, the outcome of the second round, on July 12, could determine Poland’s pro-liberal and European turn, even if the road is all uphill.

The challenge is still open, and polls say Trzaskowski could do it, but he will need the anti-Pis support of the voters of the independent candidate Szymon Hołownia (13%) and those of the popular Władysław Marcin Kosiniak-Kamysz (2, 6%).

Record turnout

DIn the early hours of the morning, lined up, weakened by the heat, the pen brought from home to avoid contagions, millions of voters in masks decided that the future of Poland was not necessarily the one sanctioned by the ultraconservative party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski and incarnate by Duda, who flew to Washington on Wednesday to meet his friend Donald Trump, in an extreme attempt at internal and international legitimacy. The turnout was very high, despite the pandemic, with 62.9% (in 2015 it was 48.96%). Numbers that make it clear how deep and heated the conflict is going on in the country, between those who fear the end of democracy, and would like change, and those who remain faithful to the sovereign line of the current government of the Party of Law and Justice.

Irreconcilable visions

TOthe seats, in two weeks, will not clash “only” two candidates for president, but two opposing visions of Poland. On the one hand that of the ultraconservatives of Duda, Eurosceptic, rural, traditionalist and nationalist, on the other that represented by Trzaskowski, alongside women, civil rights, the LGBT community, in defense of a European, democratic and modern country. Poland is also at a crossroads according to former President of the European Council Donald Tusk, it is a choice “between truth or lies, respect or contempt, pride or shame”.

With Duda president, the government of Morawiecki, which took office in 2017, would not encounter obstacles on the path of reforms that alarm national and international jurists, because they are increasingly restrictive towards the autonomy of judicial power and civil rights. With Trzaskowski, who has long sought to create a pro-European axis among the capitals of the four Visegrad states and wants to weaken “the governments of tension”, making peace with Europe would be easier.

Whatever the verdict of July 12, Trzaskowski, it seems however destined to finally guide the revival of the Polish liberal opposition.

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