Poland postpones presidential elections

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Poland presidential elections are postponed and will likely take place in two to three months after Law and Justice (PiS) party leader Jarosław Kaczyński and Agreement party leader Jarosław Gowin came to an agreement that would also preserve the government’s majority.

Kaczyński and Gowin released a joint statement that PiS and the Agreement party have created a solution which will guarantee Poles the possibility to participate in fair, democratic elections.

“After May 10, 2020, and the expected declaration of the Supreme Court (SN) about the invalidity of the elections, the Speaker of the Sejm will announce new presidential elections at the nearest possible date,” the statement reads.

It was emphasized that the elections will be conducted by the National Electoral Commission (PKW) and carried out via postal voting to ensure the safety of Poles.

Both politicians added that the Agreement will vote in the Sejm in favor of the postal voting bill but will also introduce its own amendments after consulting with PiS.

If this agreement holds, Poland’s ruling coalition of the United Right is thought to be secure. There were fears that Gowin would abandon the coalition and even join opposition parties, which would have led to the United Right losing its majority.

Commentators had pointed out earlier that the Supreme Court might be used to postpone the elections, as its participation in the procedures would be legal and not require the introduction of a state of emergency.

An expected Supreme Court declaration about the invalidity of the elections opens a clear path to holding new elections regulated by the constitution, which states that if the Court declares an election invalid, then new ones must be conducted.

The speaker of the Sejm then has 14 days to order them on a day free of work which takes place within 60 days of declaring the elections. Even if the Supreme Court used all 30 days given to it, the speaker could order new elections before the end of President Andrzej Duda’s term on August 6.

If the Supreme Court would hurry up the process and required only 20 days, there would be even more time for the elections.

According to unofficial information, July 12 might be one of the most likely dates, although that depends on the date of the declaration of the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, although the elections will be written out anew, the previous candidates are to remain due to ensure they maintain their acquired rights, including the right to be on the ballot.

TVP Debate

Wednesday’s evening debate with all ten candidates standing for president, aired by Polish public TVP, became a contest between President Andrzej Duda defending his and the government’s record, and nine opposition candidates.

Duda emphasized his record and experience, with the incumbent president’s strategy focusing on looking and sounding presidential. He also stressed the importance of the office of the president working closely with the government.

The format of the debate with every candidate having one minute to answer each of the five questions plus one minute for a summing up at the end was not conducive to all that much interaction or real debate. 

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