Duda stops electoral law reform in Poland

Poland's President Duda has vetoed a controversial law put forward by the ruling PiS party which would have given an advantage to bigger parties in the European elections in 2019. Smaller parties would have had a hard time winning any seats at all if the law had been passed. Did Duda act for or against the PiS government?

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

President needs PiS to be re-elected

Duda's veto was a one-off incident, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes:

“The Polish parliament will also be elected in August 2019 - and the PiS apparently also wants to tailor election laws to suit its interests. One would hope that Duda will use the opportunity to oppose his party. Nevertheless his attitude up to now gives little cause for hope. On the one hand, last year he did somewhat delay the judicial reform with his veto. Fundamentally, however, he didn't change a thing and in the end rubber-stamped the government's political manipulation of the judiciary. What will be crucial won't be principles but how Duda assesses his chances for the presidential elections in 2020: without the PiS he won't stand a chance.”

Newsweek Polska (PL) /

Ruling party saved in the last second

The PiS government almost shot itself in the foot with its proposed electoral law reform, political scientist Marcin Wojciechowski writes in Newsweek Polska:

“With these scandalous election laws the PiS would have forced the opposition to unite for the European elections. The party leaders would have had to work together to attain at least a few seats. ... The PiS simply went too far with this bill, but luckily for it it realised its mistake just in time, when the law was on its way to the president. Consequently in vetoing the law Andrzej Duda saved his party, and not democracy. If he'd signed it into law the opposition would have scored a spectacular success in May, and what's more this would have paved the way for a further success in the parliamentary elections next autumn.”