Polish presidential election will be dangerous and flawed because of COVID-19


PES EPSCO meeting

Polish presidential election poster next to a road deserted because of COVID-19. The election has been maintained despite the pandemic and the campaign of Andrzej Duda, Polish President and candidate of the ruling Law and Justice Party, is in full speed. Image: Pierre Le Tulzo / Hans Lucas / Belga

The Party of European Socialists objects to the conditions in which the Polish presidential election is set to take place in May and calls for it to be postponed. The election should be resumed when public health and equal conditions for campaigning can be guaranteed, European socialists and democrats are saying.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

"President Duda and his party Law and Justice (PiS) are gambling with Polish people's lives. Leaders of the ruling party in Poland are putting their personal political agenda before public health and before their own voters’ wellbeing. If they care about Poland, they must postpone the election until the current health hazard posed by COVID-19 is under control.”

The PES is deeply concerned that the leader of Law and Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński, and the incumbent President Andrzej Duda are in a full-scale campaign - they have co-opted frequent media appearances on COVID-19 into their media strategy for the election. At the same time, opposition candidates have limited media access and their campaigns are suffering because of quarantine measures.

Sergei Stanishev said:

"President Duda is playing with marked cards. He wants to run an election without a campaign or a visible opposition, and he is actively discouraging participation. Democracy is not just about going to the ballot box. Democracy is also very much about the conditions in which people vote. We will not accept this new brand of Corona-authoritarianism."