Duda thinks Poland could plunge into chaos during the postponement of the presidential election

Voting is due on 10 May, but due to the pandemic the election campaign is virtually frozen.

Duda thinks Poland could plunge into chaos during the postponement of the presidential election

Polish President Andrzej Duda sees great danger in his demand to postpone the country’s next presidential election, which is scheduled for May 10. He said this in a fragment of an interview for Gazeta Polska published on Monday.

“All those who say that the elections are dangerous for Poles should understand that the absence of elections is dangerous, because it will lead to paralysis of the state. We will need new norms necessary to fight the epidemic and the economic crisis that provoked it, new solutions that will not be able to take effect”, –  said Duda.

According to him, “elections are not only a holiday of democracy, but first of all an obligation to ensure the effective functioning of the state. “If we do not choose the president, the country will plunge into chaos,” said the head of state.

Elections in Poland

On May 10, the first round of presidential elections should be held in Poland. If none of the candidates gains more than 50% of the votes, the second round will be held on May 24 with the participation of the two candidates, who won a majority. Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the election campaign has been virtually frozen for several weeks. Many politicians and, according to polls, more than 70% of the Polish population consider it necessary to postpone the expression of will to a later date under such conditions.

The ruling Law and Justice Party of Poland (LJP) and the government claim that there is no reason to postpone the elections. According to the Constitution, voting can be postponed only if a state of emergency is declared in the country. The authorities do not see the need for this despite the epidemic.

On April 6, the Sejm adopted the draft on distance voting, proposed by the CS. Its authors state that postal voting is a necessary measure to secure voters during the epidemic of COVID-19 in the country. Many politicians, an opposition afraid of falsification, experts and a trade union of postmen opposed this form of voting throughout the country. The new law has now been sent to the Senate (upper house of parliament) for consideration.

The Ministry of Health supported the idea of remote voting, as, according to the department, traditional elections can be safely held only in two years, when coronavirus vaccination appears. The main problem with mail-order voting is the timing of quality preparations for this event. It is expected that the Senate, in which the party of power in Poland does not have a majority, will consider the proposal for absentee voting until 5-6 May. In case the law is rejected by the upper house, the Sejm will still be able to approve it by a majority vote. But after that, there will be no more than three days left until the elections. In addition, observers point out that amending the Electoral Code a few weeks before the election is unacceptable in a democratic society.

In addition to voting by mail, the ZS party has submitted a proposal to Parliament to amend the Constitution so as to extend the term of the President’s office from five to seven years without the possibility of re-election. In this way, the current President, Andrzej Duda, whose term expires on 6 August, could remain in office for two more years, and the next presidential election would then be held in 2022. However, a change in the constitution requires not a simple majority of parliamentarians, but two thirds, that is, 307. The ZS has only 235 mandates in the Sejm, which consists of 460 seats. The opposition has already stated that it will not support the idea of the ruling party.

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