Andrzej Duda who had the support of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) has been re-elected as President of Poland.
Results released early on Monday morning by he National Electoral Commission indicated that Duda had taken 51.2% of the vote with Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski on 48.8%. The margin of victory was wider than the first IPOS exit poll and than any opinion poll taken since the first round on June 28. Turnout was high at 68%.
While no official reaction was available from the EU, there was a palpable air of disappointment among liberal and pro EU journalists and media outlets at the result.
Apart from attacking Duda with the usual anti PiS bromides of homophobia and xenophobia, some commentators tried to use the impact of Coronavirus against the current government. This despite the fact that Poland with a population of 38 million has had less deaths than Ireland and one of the lowest per capita virus mortality rates at 42 per million, again compared to 353 per million for Ireland.
Much of the rest of the attacks on Poland can be regarded more or less through the same prism of relationship to the truth.
Poland of course has problems and seems to be set on a collision course with the EU Commission over its judicial reforms; part of the ongoing attempt to address the issue of a highly politicised judiciary, many of them holdovers from previous corrupt Civil Platform administrations.
PiS determination to overturn the legacy of Communist abortion legislation is opposed by many members of the judiciary and has been specifically cited by the EU, along with government restrictions on transgender ideology, as evidence of interference with the independence of the judges. Poland’s effective restrictions on immigration have also earned it the ire of the EU.
The victory of Duda is significant as it will greatly restrict the attempts by the liberal and left opposition to interfere with government policy as endorsed by the electorate.
For citizens of other EU states uncomfortable with the power of the Commission to override state sovereignty Poland’s refusal to take a knee is both an encouragement, and proof that ever greater centralisation and erosion of national democratic control is not as the main parties in Ireland would claim, inevitable.