Poland: Tusk calls for election boycott
Donald Tusk, the leader of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and former EU Council President, has called for the presidential election in Poland to be boycotted, arguing that the vote is unconstitutional. The government in Warsaw has been under fire for weeks for going ahead with plans to hold the election on 10 May - albeit entirely by postal vote - despite the pandemic.
A powerful means of exerting pressure
Journalist Eliza Michalik praises Tusk's initiative in Gazeta Wyborcza:
“The boycott must be deliberately used as a tool for organising the liberal opposition. Because a boycott should not be based on passivity or weakness, it should not be an act of surrender of the sort that some are so afraid of. On the contrary, it should be inspired by solidarity, it should be powerful, comprehensive and organised, with leaders and a united opposition at its head, so that all of Poland and the entire world sits up and takes notice. This would be an effective boycott and, I'm convinced, put the ruling party under major pressure and give millions of people hope.”
This won't stop Duda
By contrast journalist and film critic Jakub Majmurek, commenting in Krytyka Polityczna, doubts that a boycott is the way to go:
“It's obvious that the basic political purpose of a boycott is to reduce voter turnout as much as possible and undermine the legitimacy of the president who is elected in this way. That may work, but the question is: what comes next? I really don't believe that Andrzej Duda would be ashamed of having won in this way and therefore give in. ... Or that such a weak mandate will suddenly turn him into a guardian of the constitution. I don't believe that Kaczyński will take even half a step backwards just because Duda will have won the presidential race without an open, fair election campaign.”