In a close vote watched by political observers around the world, incumbent Andrzej Duda won the 2020 Polish presidential election on 12 July.
Duda, president of the Republic since 2015, will serve another five-year term as Polish head of state. He will be term-limited out of office in 2025.
The president, officially an independent but with strong support from the right-wing Law and Justice Party, saw back a strong challenge from the mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski. In the end, Duda squeaked home with just over 51 percent of the vote, a modest swing of half a point to the opposition Civic Platform.
2020 Polish Presidential Election Results
Duda was re-elected by a narrow margin, defeating Trzaskowski by about 422,000 votes.1
According to national broadcaster TVP, the challenger Trzaskowski carried most of the voivodeships (provinces) in Poland. However, in the voivodeships won by Duda, he carried most by landslides.2 For example, in Podkarpackie (Subcarpathian), Duda managed almost 71 percent of the vote, substantially more than Trzaskowski took in any voivodeship. The high-water mark for Trzaskowski was in Pomorskie (Pomeranian) where he claimed over 59.8 percent.
Cities went strongly for Trzaskowski, while the president racked up big numbers in rural areas. Duda’s strength was mostly in eastern and southern areas of the country.
But What Does It All Mean?
Duda’s United Right coalition has a narrow majority in Poland’s lower house of Parliament, the Sejm. His alliance is the largest group in the Senate, however in minority government status. The legislative agenda of Law and Justice should continue with little opposition at least until the next parliamentary elections, due in 2023.
Some saw this election as a “what kind of nation does Poland want to be?” vote. Andrzej Duda, a social conservative and ally of America’s Donald Trump, made LGBT issues a focus of his campaign, but not in support. In June, the president said that the LGBTQ agenda is “even more destructive” than communism.3 Trzaskowski, though his party tends to the center-right, was a more liberal and pro-European option than the incumbent. In these respects, voters in the 2020 Polish presidential election had clarity in their choice to make.
For now, heavily Catholic Poland chose to stay with more traditional social conservatism in the presidency until at least 2025. It remains to be seen how deeply this election will affect the European political picture for the next few years, but Duda has been critical of the European Union (and vice versa) and that’s expected to continue.
Polish Election References
1: Panstwowa Komisja Wyborcza, “Election of the President of the Republic of Poland,” Krajowe Biuro Wyborcze, 13 July 2020, PKW Link (in Polish)
2: TVP.info, “Andrzej Duda won the presidential election,” TVP.info, 13 July 2020, TVP Link (in Polish)
3: BBC News, “Polish election: Andrzej Duda says LGBT ‘ideology’ worse than communism,” BBC News, 14 June 2020, BBC News Link)
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