Poland Casts Ballots in Presidential Runoff

Voters in Poland are going to the polls Sunday for what most analysts say will be a close runoff election between right-wing President Andrzej Duda and centrist Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

In the first round of voting in late June, there was no clear winner.  Duda received 43 percent of the votes, while Trzaskowski obtained 30 percent.

Duda’s nationalist Law and Justice Party is hoping to be able to extend its majority in parliament and implement conservative social, judicial and immigration policies that many others in the European Union have criticized as anti-democratic.

They include Duda’s pledge to ban gay rights classes in schools. He has called homosexuality worse than communism.

Trzaskowski, of the Civic Platform party, campaigned on promises to preserve the ruling party’s popular welfare programs but said he would block any legislation he says would be unconstitutional. He also says he would restore good relations with the European Union.

The coronavirus outbreak forced a nearly two-month delay in the first round of voting.

Observers say the postponement hurt Duda, who had looked as if he would cruise to a first-round victory. But his popularity in the polls slipped after the Civic Platform party replaced a much less popular candidate with Trzaskowski and other candidates were allowed to get out and campaign more when COVID-19 restrictions were eased.  

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