Liberal mayor’s entry revs Polish presidential race

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05/31/2020

Childhood actor. Pro-democracy activist. Avid supporter of the European Union and LGBT rights. Warsaw’s liberal mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, made a late entry into Poland’s presidential election and has quickly emerged as the main challenger to the conservative incumbent, Andrzej Duda. He has injected competition and suspense into a race that Duda had seemed certain to win. Trzaskowski jumped in after the coronavirus pandemic forced the conservative government to postpone the election, originally scheduled for May 10. Civic Platform, a centrist, pro-EU party, seized its chance to replace its original candidate, who was polling in the low single digits. A new date for the election has not been announced, but the conservative ruling Law and Justice party, which backs Duda, says it wants the election held June 28. If no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote, a runoff would take place July 12. With a field of 10 candidates, it is considered likely that Duda and Trzaskowski, both of whom are 48, will face off in the runoff. Many Poles feel this is the most important election since Poland threw off communism three decades ago.

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