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Polish Populist Duda Reelected by Slim Margin



Polish President Andrzej Duda was voted into another term of office on Sunday over Liberal rival Rafal Trzaskowski. Photo: Andrzej Duda/

Polish President Adrzej Duda is the apparent winner in Sunday’s electoral contest in that country, getting the nod over Warsaw’s liberal mayor Rafal Trzaskowski yesterday by a narrow margin.

The populist leader is credited with garnering 51.2% of votes in the closely-contested national plebiscite, the narrowest margin of victory since Poland became a democratic country after the fall of communism there. Some polling stations have not yet released their official counts but there was a 68.2% turnout at the polls, leading most to believe there will not be any further changes in the results.

The win is expected to mean that Duda will be free to enact further sweeping reforms in the judiciary sector, one of the stated objectives of the Law and Justice (PiS) party. It is believed that the Polish leader, a conservative who is under the umbrella of the party, may try to expand his control over local authorities as well as the media, even attempting to ban foreign ownership of any Polish media.

He will have three years, until the next parliamentary elections, in which to make his agenda a reality.

The opposition Civic Platform party, which backed Trzaskowski, has already charged that there were voting irregularities in the election, stating that Polish citizens living abroad did not have enough time to fill in their ballots and mail them back before the polls were closed yesterday.

According to a report from AFP, Warsaw University political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska stated “I think there will certainly be electoral protests and I think the whole issue will end up in the Supreme Court.”

Populist Duda has had a rocky relationship with the European Union, continuing to espouse traditional values which have been viewed as anti-gay and anti-immigration.

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