|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
Reports and analyses on political and electoral actions of the Polish government under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further information :
Poland was due to hold the first round of its presidential election on May 10th , with incumbent Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, who is bidding for a second term, well ahead in the polls.
Deputies from Poland’s ruling conservatives have put forward plans to allow all citizens to cast a postal vote in upcoming presidential elections as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opposition politicians have called for the presidential ballot, scheduled for May 10, to be postponed. They argue that election campaigning is restricted or has been made impossible by the coronavirus outbreak in Poland.
But members of the ruling Law and Justice party have accused the opposition of playing for time in the hope that the gap will narrow between incumbent conservative President Andrzej Duda and his rivals.
On 6 April 2020, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland passed a bill which requires voting for the presidential election to be carried out by postal voting only. The bill was sent to the upper house of Polish parliament for futher processing. Among many law professionals, this solution raises a lot of controversy.
Besides the election, two “citizens’ initiatives” bills were examinated during this time of pandemic. The first would severely limit abortion, and the second, spearheaded by anti-LGBTI groups, would make teaching or even promoting sexuality education to people under 18 a crime punishable with up to three years in prison. Poland’s abortion laws were among the strictest in Europe - it was only allowed in cases of rape or incest, if the mother’s life was at risk, or if the foetus was seriously compromised. The draft legislation would have banned terminations of a foetus if tests show it to be irreversibly damaged, which accounted for around 98% of legal abortions in the country.
The bills under consideration were originally introduced in March 2018 and October 2019, and have since been stalled or not moved forward under the Parliament elected in November 2019. Both had been met by street protests.
Activists feared that conservative politicians could have taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown preventing opponents from organising large street protests. But if public gatherings were banned, in the streets, people stood around 2m apart and holding placards. Others hung posters on bikes or posted videos online in a "virtual protest".
MPs in Poland decided not to pass two bills seeking to ban sexuality education and further restrict abortion, and instead forwarded them onto subcommittees for further debate, effectively freezing them for the foreseeable future.
The European Parliament passed a resolution on Friday 17 April describing the recent Hungarian and Polish government actions during the coronavirus outbreak as “totally incompatible with European values.” Lawmakers called on the Commission to determine whether Hungary and Poland breached EU law, and urged the Council to put Article 7 procedures back on the agenda. Sanctions under Article 7 of the EU treaty could result is a suspension of voting rights.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Subject Tags||Presidential Elections|
|Countries / Regions||Poland|