28th May 2020

Polish presidential vote goes to second round

The first round of Polish presidential elections mirrored last month's parliamentary vote, with two right-leaning candidates winning by a large margin.

But the position of the winning parties has changed, with the relatively moderate Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform coming in first, followed by the more conservative Lech Kaczynski from the Law and Justice party.

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  • Polish citizens will give their final say over the country's future president on 23 October (Photo: European Commission Audiovisual Library)

Mr Tusk took 35.8 percent of Sunday's (9 October) vote according to early results, while Mr Kaczynski scooped 33.3 percent.

Populist eurosceptic Andrzej Lepper won 15.6 percent support.

Tusk and Kaczynski will now have to run again two weeks from now (23 October) as neither side won the required majority of over 50 percent.

Mr Kaczynski's supporters hope that he will pick up Mr Lepper's votes and beat Mr Tusk in the second round.

Both leading candidates support free market reforms, but Mr Kaczynski has laid a stress on Roman Catholic and family values, while Mr Tusk appeals to liberals with his view of the EU as a "great opportunity" for Poland.

The Polish president has less executive power than the prime minister, but is the commander in chief of the army and exerts sway over the country's foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Law and Justice and Civic Platform have been involved in coalition talks since Poland's parliamentary elections in late September.

Differing views on economic policies are blocking an agreement for now.

Law and Justice has nominated its little-known economics expert Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz to be prime minister, with party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski stepping aside so as not to interfere with his twin brother, Lech Kaczynski's chances of winning the presidency.

Mr Marcinkiewicz made headlines last week by telling Newsweek magazine that homosexuality is unnatural, with the European Parliament's socialist group saying it was "shocked" by the remark.

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