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Poland’s resident homophobe Andrzej Duda leads in first round of re-election battle, but the final vote may come down to the wire

Nick Duffy June 29, 2020
Polish President Andrzej Duda does not have more than 50% of the vote and will face Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in a runoff

Polish President Andrzej Duda does not have more than 50% of the vote and will face Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in a runoff (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Polish presidential election saw Poland’s anti-LGBT+ president Andrzej Duda take a commanding lead in the first round, but polls suggest the final round could be decided by a tiny margin.

The ultra-conservative politician, who is backed by the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party, has hinged his re-election campaign on opposition to LGBT+ rights in an effort to tap into rising homophobic sentiment in Poland.

In the first round of results in the Polish presidential election, held Sunday (June 28), Duda received 8,412,183 votes (43.67 per cent), well ahead of his nearest rival, the pro-LGBT+ centrist Rafał Trzaskowski, who received 5,845,164 votes (30.34 per cent).

However, as no candidate received more than 50 per cent of the vote, a run-off will now be held between Duda and Trzaskowski on July 12 — with the gap between the pair narrowing significantly with other candidates eliminated.

Polish presidential election results trigger second round, but polling inconclusive.

According to an opinion poll on the second round conducted by Kantar on Sunday night, the pair are currently separated by less than one per cent of the vote — with Duda on 50.4 per cent and Trzaskowski on 49.6 per cent.

Duda has sought to bolster support for his campaign by attacking same-sex marriage, adoption and gay “ideology”.

In a “family charter” published ahead of the election, Duda pledged to “prohibit the propagation of this ideology” in public institutions and “defend the institution of marriage” as defined as a “relationship between a women and a man”.

The president also said that there would be “no permission for adoption of children by homosexual couples”.

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has been accused of pandering to homophobes to win votes.

Critics suggested that Duda was simply trying to ride back into power on the coat tails of a culture war.

Polish President Andrzej Duda flashes V-signs after addressing supporters as exit poll results were announced during the presidential election in Lowicz, Poland
Polish President Andrzej Duda flashes V-signs after addressing supporters as exit poll results were announced during the presidential election in Lowicz, Poland (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Taking aim at LGBT+ people is not a new tactic, with the ruling Law and Justice Party successfully converting homophobic sentiment into political capital before — contributing to a surge in public homophobia and nationalist rhetoric over the past few years.

As part of the politically-driven attack on LGBT+ people, nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments have proclaimed themselves zones “free from LGBT+ ideology” and opposing gay “propaganda” — covering nearly a third of the country.

The European Parliament passed a resolution that strongly condemned the concept of LGBT-free zones in December, noting that they are “part of a broader context of attacks against the LGBT+ community in Poland, which include growing hate speech by public and elected officials and public media, as well as attacks and bans on Pride marches”.

More: Andrzej Duda., Poland

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