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Poland to hold first round of presidential elections


Poland to hold first round of presidential elections

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda campaigns
Photo: AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski

After being postponed from May 10, Poland will today hold its first round of presidential elections.

Today’s round will most likely be won by incumbent President Andrzej Duda, who currently polls ahead of his main opponent, liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. While Duda is running as an independent, he has received significant support from the ruling conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS). Widely considered the favourite leading up to the election, Duda’s lead in the polls has shrunk after the last-minute release of Trzaskowski’s New Solidarity program.

With an increasing likelihood that Duda will not receive more than 50% of the first round votes, polls suggest that the second round, to be held on July 12, could be very tightly contested.

While Duda’s victory would likely ensure the continuation of PiS’ controversial judicial reforms, Trzaskowski has campaigned on institutional reform, such as eliminating the Disciplinary Chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court, a PiS-created institution that was designed to punish judges who criticise the government. A victory for the pro-EU Trzaskowski would also likely reverse Duda’s efforts to distance Poland from the bloc.

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Even if Duda garners the most votes today, a surprising showing of support for Trzaskowski could build the challenger enough momentum to represent a legitimate challenge to Duda in the second round in two weeks.

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