POLAND’s presidential contenders on Friday made a final push to gain support ahead of the likely knife-edge vote on Sunday, as the presidential campaign comes to an end.
The upcoming ballot is seen not just as voting for the Head of state, but also for choosing the political path Poland will adopt in the coming years.
Earlier, a pre-election silence sets in, as opinion polls might no longer be published and campaigning was prohibited.
The election is expected to be closely contested. Exit polls are expected soon after polls close at 9 p.m on Sunday.
However, opinion polls conducted so far, gave Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski between 45 and 47.5 percent support, while President Andrej Duda was left between 44 and 47.3 percent of the vote.
Ther polls, however, highlighted the country’s deep partisan divide. Meanwhile, about 5 to 11 percent of voters were still undecided.
The election is considered a vote for or against the government of the conservative party, Law, and Justice (PiS), which supports the incumbent.
According to analysts, Duda’s win will consolidate the party’s grip on power, while his defeat could damage the PiS government and possibly lead to a snap parliamentary election.
Trzaskowski and opposition politicians, including the centrist Civic Platform party, feared that Duda’s win could encourage PiS to clamp down on media freedoms, courts, and Local Governments, making the regime increasingly autocratic.
Trzaskowski told his supporters during the campaign trail that a win for the opposition candidate could help the judiciary regain independence, end Poland’s pariah status in the EU, and establish an independent president at last.
Also, his opponents said a win by Trzaskowski would create conflict between the president and PiS government, leading to political chaos.
They feared the opposition candidate would use his powers as president to veto parliamentary legislation, blocking Poland’s development.
However, the supporters of the president said only Duda could guarantee the continuation of the economic development and welfare programmes introduced over the last five years in Poland.
“I want the Polish family to reach the level of affluence that we observe in Western Europe.
“If someone is in doubt on how to vote, please ask him just one thing: Compare your standard of living before 2015, before Duda became president, and now. Then go and cast your vote,” Duda said.
He presents himself as defending conservative family values and opposing a liberal lifestyle that is alien to Polish culture, including LGBT rights. Duda has used public media, including TV broadcaster TVP, to gain support.
According to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), after the first round of voting in June, TVP acted as a campaign vehicle for the incumbent and provided limited and frequently negative coverage of Trzaskowski. (dpa/NAN)
– Jul. 10, 2020 @ 17:57 GMT |