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English Section

Traditional presidential vote cannot be held safely for two years: Polish health minister

17.04.2020 19:09
Poland’s health minister said on Friday that the country’s presidential elections, which are scheduled for May, cannot be held safely for at least two years in their traditional form.
Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski
Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek

The date of ballot is controversial in Poland, with opposition politicians calling for the election to be postponed.

Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski, the man at the forefront of the country’s battle with the coronavirus, said on Friday that if political parties fail to agree to defer the vote, a postal ballot is the only safe way of holding the election.

The Polish parliament on April 6 passed a bill under which presidential elections in May would be held by postal vote only.

The bill, proposed by deputies from the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, has gone to the Senate, the upper house, for debate.

Opposition politicians argue that even a postal ballot would cause coronavirus infections to spread, and that normal election campaigning has been made impossible by the epidemic.

But members of Law and Justice have accused the opposition of playing for time in the hope that the gap will narrow between incumbent conservative President Andrzej Duda, who is bidding for a second term, and his rivals.

Borys Budka, head of the opposition Civic Platform party, has claimed that Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński wants to “expose all those postmen, members of electoral commissions, to risk [of coronavirus infection] because he is terribly afraid of losing power.”

A total of 8,379 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease in Poland, with 332 deaths from the coronavirus so far, officials said on Friday afternoon.

(pk)

Source: PAP