Polish president Andrzej Duda failed to secure 50% votes in the first round of presidential election held on June 28, Sunday. He will now have to contest the second round against Civic Platform’s Rafał Trzaskowski, scheduled on July 12. Duda, backed by the incumbent right-wing Law & Justice (PiS) party, garnered 43.50% votes while the current Warsaw mayor, Trzaskowski, won 30.46%.
Bartosz Bieszczad from the Communist Party of Poland (KPP) told Peoples Dispatch, “The Polish presidential election has become the arena of political rivalry between two major world powers. The US-directed camp rallied around the ruling neo-conservative party PiS and their candidate, current president Andrzej Duda. The opposing camp was directed from the EU and circles close to the US Democratic Party. This group exerts its power through private media, NGOs, political parties and local governments. The presidential campaign was carried out almost exclusively through foreign private and state media, which manipulated the Polish public into the illusion of choice.”
The presidential polls were originally scheduled for May 10 but were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This was despite attempts by the PiS to conduct the polls in May, trying to cash in on Duda’s strong approval ratings at the time. This received strong criticism from the opposition and even PiS’ ruling coalition partners, forcing the postponement of the polls.
The PiS has been trying to get Duda re-elected because presidential support has become critical for its rule after losing the simple majority in the Polish Senate (upper house of the Polish parliament) in the October 2019 elections.