According to Poland’s constitution, elections must be held on May 3, May 10 or May 17. As much as the Polish opposition doesn’t like it, that is the law.
It is possible that elections will be postponed from May 10 to May 17 but there is currently no legal possibility to move the date further. The pandemic has now forced the adoption of a new election solution, especially after opposition-controlled municipalities have announced a boycott of the election.
Ensuring the safety of Poles due to the coronavirus outbreak is clear and a secure voting method that reduces the chance for the infection to spread must be implemented. However, Poland is not the first country to hold elections during the pandemic. South Korea is holding elections in clinics with voters and poll workers mandated to wear masks and check temperatures of voters.
Elections in the German state of Bavaria and France also moved forward despite the coronavirus, with the elections in Bavaria greatly relying on postal voting.
Solutions such as postal voting were proposed by the Polish government, but were rejected by the opposition despite postal voting being voted through Poland’s parliament.
So far, the opposition has announced a boycott of elections. Opposition Speaker of the Senate Tomasz Grodzki immediately announced that the senate will use the full 30 days to analyze the postal voting project.
Grodzki previously stated that the elections won’t be a celebration of democracy but a “lust for power, guiding those who want to maintain it at any cost, risking an explosion of the pandemic.”
Those are the words of a man who shows little signs of wanting to cooperate to create a proper and fair postal voting project that allows Poles to participate n the democratic process.
Civic Platform (PO) head Borys Budka announced that the Civic Platform will do everything to block PiS’s proposal in the senate.
“Civic” organizations, well-known for organizing anti-government protests, have already joined the opposition’s efforts. The so-called “defenders of democracy”, and “Citizens of Poland” have created a professional video in which they call for a boycott of the elections and the burning of voting ballot papers.
The video literally shows individuals burning ballots and serves as a symbol of the scorched earth tactics the opposition is using to try and invalidate the upcoming election.
“No matter what the government decides regarding punishments for disobedience concerning the May elections, we will break every possible law during voting, including rules on election silence, those regarding handling voting ballot and those on public gatherings,” the Citizens of Poland NGO wrote in the tweet linked below, which also contains a link to their video.
Niezależnie od tego, co władza ostatecznie postanowi o karach za nieposłuszeństwo wobec zarządzonego na maj głosowania, wszystkie możliwe przepisy będziemy w czasie głosowania łamać:
te o "ciszy wyborczej"
te o postępowaniu z kartami, o zgromadzeniach. pic.twitter.com/Wih4ZQstfd
— Obywatele RP #FBPE (@ObywateleRP) April 8, 2020
PO is doing everything possible to apply external pressure to the election and are relying on the support of left-liberal media to guarantee success.
Those who recently claimed to be defending the constitution are now breaking it, seeing a chance to improve their positions by postponing elections. Although they know that a postponement is constitutionally impossible, they are pushing for a state of emergency which would crush Poles and the economy even more.
With the opposition’s extreme actions, they are showing that during the coronavirus crisis, all they care about is their narrow political interests. At the same time, opposition figures keep on complaining about the fact that traditional election campaigns are not possible, all while basically running their election complain unchanged and maintaining their anti-PiS message.
They pretend to not know that Polish President Andrzej Duda, whose campaign events attracted the most people, has the most to lose from the loss of traditional campaigning. The handful of voters who showed up to opposition candidates’ meetings will still manage to go to the polls without the “benefit” of those poorly attended events.
What will be the result of this struggle and the boycott? There is only one true test of democracy, and that is one’s attitude towards democratic elections.
Voters may well remember that the opposition stood between them and their constitutionally-mandated right for an election and every compromise PiS offered to ensure safe and secure elections during the outbreak