Poland's leader sworn in for 2nd term as critics stay away

Poland’s conservative President Andrzej Duda has been sworn in for a second five-year term before parliament members

WARSAW, Poland -- Poland’s conservative President Andrzej Duda was sworn in for a second five-year term before parliament members Thursday, but most opposition parliamentarians and former presidents and prime ministers did not attend.

Their absence showed their disapproval of what they call Duda’s disregard for the Constitution during his first term, and his almost total acceptance of the ruling right-wing party’s policies that have put Poland at odds with European Union leaders.

Duda has been a close ally of the ruling right-wing coalition of the Law and Justice party and two small partner parties.

The president vowed openness to all groups and political parties, but he stressed the key role of the family in society and the need to protect it. The comments were seen as a repetition of his campaign message that was hostile to LGBT rights.

Left-wing lawmakers dressed in rainbow colors for the ceremony, in apparent support for the LGBT community.

Duda won 51.03% of votes in the July 12 election runoff while his challenger, liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, received 48.97%. Turnout was almost 65% in the nation of 38 million.

Later Thursday, Duda was set to renew his command of Poland’s armed forces, attend an inaugural Catholic Mass and be reappointed to head a committee that bestows Poland’s highest distinctions.

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