Poland: a president from nowhere?

In Poland, the presidential election originally scheduled for May 10 is to take place this Sunday. A victory for incumbent Andrzej Duda (PiS) was considered a foregone conclusion when the first date was set, but now polls put Duda at just 40 percent. Meanwhile Rafał Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw who only recently entered the race, is catching up. Could Trzaskowski put an end to the PiS's time in power?

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Lietuvos rytas (LT) /

Vilnius gets on well with the PiS

Brussels and Poland take different views of who should lead Poland, Lietuvos rytas points out:

“The weakening of the nationalist conservative PiS would be good news for the EU. But what is convenient for Brussels is not necessarily advantageous for Lithuania. It sounds paradoxical, but during the time when the liberals ruled in Poland, bilateral relations between the countries cooled significantly. There was even talk of a big chill. ... With the PiS government it became clear that the Lithuanian politicians get on better with the Polish nationalists than with the Liberals.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Duda only hurting his own cause

Duda's polarising, homophobic rhetoric may cost him the election, The Guardian writes in delight:

“Mr Duda will hope that praise and support from Donald Trump, during a visit to Washington this week, will consolidate mainstream support in a fiercely pro-American country. But eyeing the narrowing polls, some of Mr Duda's supporters fear that, for once, aggressive and divisive rhetoric against minorities may have backfired. For Poland's shamefully ostracised LGBT community, that would be a cause for celebration and relief.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

The rapid rise of a beacon of hope

The liberal opposition candidate Rafał Trzaskowski stands a good chance even though he only entered the race recently, Ukrayinska Pravda believes:

“Trzaskowski was only able to run for president because the elections scheduled for May 10 were postponed. And he faced an uneven playing field from the start. He had the least time to collect support signatures, and his campaign budget is a third of that of the competition. But despite these challenges he's now in second place. And most importantly: in the event of a runoff vote, which is slated for July 12, according to the polls he could actually beat Andrzej Duda.”

hvg (HU) /

New election date, new candidate: open race

The struggle for power between the PiS and the Civic Platform (PO) is entering a new, far more open round, hvg notes:

“It was probably no accident that the ruling PiS insisted on an election in May. It feared that its candidate Duda's lead could melt away. ... And that's exactly what has happened. ... This is due to the fact that the centre-right opposition party Civic Platform (PO) took the opportunity to replace its candidate [Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska]. ... If you look at the polls, it doesn't seem inconceivable that Rafał Trzaskowski could win in a runoff vote. This also means that there will be another duel between the two right-wing parties PiS and PO, which have been fighting each other bitterly from election to election since 2005 with varying degrees of success.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Attack or ignore

Andrzej Duda's entourage must now make a decision, warns wPolityce.pl:

“Either they deliberately attack Trzaskowski or they ignore their rival. If they start messing around in too many areas it will be counterproductive and convey the impression that they are helplessly trailing behind. In the end this might even strengthen Trzaskowski's position. This matter should be well thought through. At the moment, so many messages are flowing out of the government camp every day that society, which is only receptive to a limited extent, is overwhelmed. And either the messages cancel each other out or they get lost in the general uproar.”