Poland’s presidential election was administered professionally despite the lack of legal clarity as solutions were sought to hold the election during the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign was characterized by intolerant rhetoric and a public broadcaster [TVP] that failed in its duty to offer balanced and impartial coverage, international observers from the election quality monitor OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said in a statement on June 29.
The turnout in the first round of the presidential election held on June 28 was almost 65 percent according to data from over 99 percent of electoral districts. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda, a loyal ally of the country’s governing right-wing nationalist and populist Law and Justice (PiS) party, faced off liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski and other left-wing and far-right candidates. Duda took just under 44 percent of the vote and Trzaskowski slightly over 30 percent.
Inflammatory language by the incumbent and his campaign was at times xenophobic and homophobic, states OSCE, adding that in the run-up to the election, the public broadcaster became a campaign tool for the incumbent, while some reporting had clear xenophobic and anti-Semitic undertones.
According to the Guardian, a well known British daily, the country is set for a fortnight of political campaigning that will be combative, intense and is likely to involve “dirty” smears of the challenger from public media outlets, before the presidential run-off on July 12. Most opinion polls have shown the vote is likely to be extremely close and the result will be decisive for the country’s political trajectory.
Founded in August 1975 in Helsinki and headquartered in Vienna, the OSCE is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections.