Poland’s largest liberal opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), has selected its presidential candidate for the election due in May next year in an attempt to score an upset victory against Poland’s current president, Andrzej Duda.
The new candidate, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, beat her challenger, Poznań Mayor Jacek Jaśkowiak, for the PO nomination by a margin of almost three to one during the party’s primary process.
She had been the clear favorite in the contest which confirmed that the party wanted to maintain its current course. But the confidence Kidawa-Błońska displayed about winning cannot hide her nervousness on the public stage and her uncertainty when speaking in public.
Instead of trying to put together a coherent case for what she would want to do as president, Kidawa-Błońska just boasted that since she managed to get more votes in Warsaw than the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, during October’s parliamentary electio.
She said that she could beat the incumbent Andrzej Duda and be a “president for all Poles.”
While it is no surprise that she would claim victory, she also went on the attack, saying, “Poles will no longer have to be embarrassed by their president.”
Given the fact that she is trailing President Duda by a margin of 20 points in the polls and many experts expect him to win, her claims seemed to be over-confident bordering on arrogance. Poles also have given Duda high favorability scores in polling during his presidency.
PO’s candidate also displayed a lack of new ideas that might win her a larger share of voters, with her remarks on the environment seen as particularly vacuous.
On the topic of the environment, she said, “Poland should function as a normal, friendly country. We should have rivers, greenery and be able to see the sun.”
It seems that the main opposition party will concentrate its efforts on attacking Duda and the ruling party rather than proposing anything new. This is also clear from Donald Tusk’s activities in promoting his new book “Honestly” where he encourages his supporters to return to lobbying against Poland on the international stage and street demonstrations against the government.
The coming presidential election is likely to be another symbol of the polarization which has gripped Polish politics. Since the stakes are very high, with Poland’s present able to veto legislation, the contest is likely to be brutal.