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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Presidential hopefuls in Poland make final push ahead of Sunday vote

Poland’s presidential hopefuls, incumbent Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, will make a final push to mobilise voters on Friday, the last day of the presidential campaign ahead of the Sunday vote.

At midnight on Friday (2200 GMT), a pre-election silence sets in: The publishing of opinion polls and campaigning will be prohibited.

The period of silence ends at 9 pm (1900 GMT) on Sunday, when polling stations close and exit polls are published.

Duda plans to complete his campaign in the country’s south-east, where his support is the strongest. He is to start his day in the Subcarpathian region before travelling north to the city of Zamosc, where he will meet voters before midnight.

Trzaskowski plans to campaign in small towns in the south-west. These locations used to be the turf of his centrist Civic Platform party, but they have drifted away in recent years.

According to opinion polls, the election will be closely contested.

Polls from the recent week give Trzaskowski between 45 and 47.5 per cent support, while Duda can count on between 44 and 47.3 per cent of the vote. Some 5-11 per cent of the voters are still undecided.

The election is considered a plebiscite for or against the government of national-conservative party Law and Justice (PiS), which supports the incumbent.

A Duda win would consolidate the party’s grip on power, while his defeat could start the erosion of the PiS government.

According to some commentators, the stakes of the vote are even higher.

“It is not a choice between a more right-wing and left-wing option… This election is about Poland remaining a part of Western civilization or drifting further east,” political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska told dpa.

Duda’s actions, including infringements on the constitution or attacking court independence, are signs that “fundamental democratic values are not his priority.”

His win might lead to an “Orbanization” of the Polish political system, including a clampdown on the media or local governments, she said. (dpa/NAN)

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