Forbes, By Luiza Oleszczuk, May 25
Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski has conceded the runoff election to his rival after partial official results and exit polls on Monday confirmed the victory of conservative candidate Andrzej Duda in Poland’s presidential race. Duda, of the right-wing Law and Justice party, defeated incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski of the center-right Civic Platform, which has governed Poland since 2007.
Duda won overwhelmingly among the rural regions, as opposed to cities, and geographically, in the eastern half of Poland. This illustrates how strongly the country is divided as far as economic development, social status and education (eastern Poland being much less economically and infrastructurally developed than its western half, with a generally less educated, more rural population). Komorowski actually took more voivodeships (Polish administrative regions), but Duda received more individual votes.
The president has limited powers in Poland but he or she is Commander in Chief and can veto legislation.
The big question is whether Duda, a 43-year-old lawyer from Krakow, will continue his politics in line with his conservative party, which gained some ill fame among the Europeans during its short term in power in 2005-2007. The party came to be associated with squabbling over minor issues in the international arena and putting immense pressure on the Catholic tradition back in Poland. The party is strictly against abortion and gay marriage. It’s also anti in-vitro, to the point that Law and Justice politicians, including Duda, were working on legislation that would put doctors performing the procedure in jail.
The Duda in Poland
A dark horse’s victory in Sunday’s presidential runoff signals the beginning of a political transformation in the EU’s leading eastern power.
Politico, By Jan Cienski, May 24
Warsaw — Capping a surprisingly resilient insurgent campaign for Polish president, Andrzej Duda ousted incumbent Bronisław Komorowski in a runoff Sunday, and signaled a shift in Poland’s domestic and foreign policy.
Duda got 51.6 percent of the vote to the sitting president’s 48.4 percent, according to final results released Monday afternoon. Komorowski didn’t wait for the final count, conceding defeat just after the polls closed at 10:30 on Sunday night.
“It didn’t work this time. That’s how the voters in free and democratic Poland decided,” Komorowski said. “I wish him a successful presidency because I wish Poland well,” he said, offering his congratulations to Duda.
“Those who voted for me wanted change, and I thank them for that,” a serious-looking Duda told his cheering supporters.
This dark horse victory upends more than eight years of political dominance by the centrist Civic Platform (PO) party, which had backed Komorowski. Duda comes from the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS), which goes into the coming campaign for the more powerful institution of parliament this fall with greater confidence and unexpected momentum.
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