Posted on Jul 13, 2020
Poland’s conservative President Andrzej Duda has won, albeit by the narrowest of margins, a second five-year term, according to a near-complete count of votes.
The state electoral commission said that Duda had 51.21% of the vote based on a count of votes from 99.97% districts. His opponent, Rafal Trzaskowski, trailed with 48.79% of the vote.
The head of the commission, Sylwester Marciniak, said final official results would only be announced later. They could vary slightly, but with Duda having nearly half a million votes more than Trzaskowski in the votes included in the preliminary count, they are not expected to reverse Duda’s victory.
This follows a bitter campaign dominated by issues of culture in which the government, state media and the influential Catholic church all mobilized in support of Duda, a social conservative, and sought to stoke fears of Jews, LGBT people and Germans.
Duda, who is backed by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, campaigned on traditional values and expanding popular social spending policies in this mostly Catholic nation.
The party’s policies, including hugely popular monthly cash bonuses of 500 zlotys ($125) per child to all families irrespective of income, have helped alleviate poverty in rural regions, and given all families more money to spend.
Duda’s supporters gave him and the party credit for making good on promises to reduce the economic inequality that came with the country’s transition from communism to a market economy three decades ago. There is a strong sense among their supporters that the economic help also restored a sense of dignity to their lives.
But the party has also stoked conflict with the European Union with laws that have given it vast new powers over the top courts and judicial bodies.
Sunday’s vote was originally planned for May but was delayed amid bitter political wrangling.
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