Conservative Duda wins Poland’s presidential vote

Andrzej Duda ousts incumbent President Bronislaw Komorowski with 51.55 percent of vote.

Andrzej Duda
Conservative victor Andrzej Duda will take office in August [AP]

Conservative challenger Andrzej Duda has won Poland’s presidential election and ousted the incumbent in a runoff vote, according to official results.

Duda, a right-wing member of the European Parliament, won with 51.55 percent of the vote, the State Electoral Commission said on Monday.

President Bronislaw Komorowski, allied with the ruling pro-business Civic Platform, garnered 48.45 percent in the second round of voting on Sunday, with a turnout was 55.34 percent.

Duda, a 43-year-old lawyer with experience in the government, will be take office in August.

Poland’s president is the head of the armed forces, and can propose and veto legislation. In foreign policy, the president’s role is chiefly ceremonial.

Duda’s Law and Justice presents itself as a protector of those who haven’t benefited from the capitalist transformation and as a defender of national interests abroad, but the president-elect said he plans to leave the party, following a tradition of Polish presidents breaking formal ties to their parties to represent the entire nation.

Law and Justice is staunchly pro-US, but has a sometimes defiant stance toward other European countries, which has created tensions in the past with the EU and neighbouring Germany.

Duda says he wants new taxes on the foreign-owned banks and supermarkets to protect Polish interests, suggesting an approach similar to that of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary.

He also said he wants banks returned to Polish control.

Duda’s win could herald a major political shift in the European Union’s sixth-largest economy, a country that has been able to punch above its weight in Europe without belonging to the 19-nation eurozone.

Source: AP