Polish President Andrzej Duda has managed to win five more years in power with a very conservative plan for the country, possibly leading to an even worse relationship between Poland and the rest of the EU on Monday July 13.
Duda won with a lead of 51% over Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski’s 49%, according to Poland’s National Election Commission.
Duda is very closely allied with the ruling nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), with his electoral victory granting the government a new mandate to seek reforms of several aspects, particularly the judiciary and the media, with these reforms troubling the executive European Commission, who feel that they go against democratic standards.
During his campaign, Duda often made for a very angry and annoyed figure, with his acrimonious campaign being filled with homophobic language, attacks on private media, as well as accusations that Trzaskowski had interests in other countries.
Trzaskowski dismissed these accusations entirely.
The Polish President’s victory will bring forward a host of new clashes between Poland and the European Commission, with the EU trying to tackle to economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a vast increase of nationalism across the member countries.
Prior to PiS and Duda’s government came to power back in 2015, Poland was one of the most pro-European countries in the east of the EU.
However, ever since PiS and Duda’s administration, there was a major increase in feuds between Poland and the EU, particularly on climate change and migration, as well as on democratic norms as a whole.
Trzaskowski, who has been Warsaw mayor since 2018, stated that he would make Poland more tolerable with the EU if elected, criticising PiS’ views, with Trzaskowski also vowing to remove state news channel TVP Info, with many critics claiming that the channel gave much more support to Duda than to him in its programming.
However, Trzaskowski’s main downfall was that there are too many religious conservatives in the country, with Poland being a predominantly Catholic nation, and his progressive views ended up representing the threats to traditional values and culture.
His idea to introduce more education about LGBT rights in Warsaw’s schools came under immense criticism by the country’s Catholic community, most of which preferring traditional values.
Anna Materska-Sosnowska, a political scientist at the Warsaw University, claimed that Trzaskowski’s campaign centred on “the fear of others”.
During the last week of campaigning, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kacynski accused Trzaskowski of wanting minorities to “terrorise” the Polish society.
Apart from this, economic policy was another key feature of the election, as Duda put himself forward as being a bringer of many generous PiS welfare programmes that have helped many of the poor Polish people since PiS came to power in 2015.
Due to this election, PiS now has the possibility of having three years of uninterrupted rule as the next parliamentary election is scheduled to be on 2023.