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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Warsaw mayor chosen as new opposition candidate in Polish presidential race

15.05.2020 16:51
Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski has been chosen by Poland’s opposition Civic Platform (PO) party as its contender in the country’s presidential race after its previous candidate withdrew amid poor poll ratings.
Rafał Trzaskowski
Rafał Trzaskowski PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Trzaskowski, who has been mayor of the Polish capital since November 2018, said: “I am taking upon myself the enormous responsibility of fighting for a democratic Poland, fighting for a strong state.”

Trzaskowski’s term as mayor has been marked by a series of controversies, and he was criticised by conservatives for supporting LGBT people.

Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, a leading light in the centrist opposition Civic Platform, announced earlier on Friday she was withdrawing from the presidential race.

She told a news conference she was stepping aside to make room for a candidate who could have a better chance of defeating the conservative incumbent in an upcoming election.

During her election campaign, Kidawa-Błońska, a deputy lower-house Speaker, sought to present herself as a moderate, conciliatory figure able to reach out to voters from across Poland’s bitterly divided political landscape.

According to state news agency PAP, Kidawa-Błońska’s approval ratings plunged from over 20 percent in February to a mere 4 percent in April.

Poland's presidential election had been scheduled for May 10, but failed to go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed almost 900 lives in the country.

Parliamentary Speaker Elżbieta Witek is soon expected to announce a new date for the vote.

In a major re-election campaign speech, incumbent President Andrzej Duda early this month summed up his five years in office and outlined his second-term vision for Poland.

Duda’s contenders in the presidential race include middle-of-the-road politician Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the rural-based Polish People’s Party (PSL); leftist Robert Biedroń; far-right hopeful Krzysztof Bosak; and celebrity journalist Szymon Hołownia.

All these candidates and a few others earlier this month locked horns in a televised debate ahead of the presidential ballot, which is now likely to be held sometime in the summer.

(pk/gs)

Source: IAR/Polish Radio