Poland’s main opposition party on Friday nominated Warsaw’s mayor as its new candidate for the country’s presidential election.
The Civic Platform party chose Rafał Trzaskowski, a former MEP, to replace Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, who announced her withdrawal after posting disappointing polling results against incumbent Andrzej Duda.
“I’m taking full responsibility for what has happened. Falls in opinion polls were the result of Poles being unclear if I was taking part in the election or not,» she said.
That indecision was the result of Poland’s bizarre presidential election. The vote was supposed to have taken place on May 10, but the election was dogged by controversy over whether it should be held during a pandemic, which hindered the ability of opposition candidates to campaign.
The ruling Law and Justice party refused to use a constitutional way to delay the vote, and instead rushed through a legally dubious attempt to turn it into a postal-only election. Kidawa-Błońska called for a boycott, but also said she wouldn’t withdraw — sending a confusing message to voters that saw her fall from around 20 percent support in March to about 5 percent last week.
The ruling party was forced to back away from the postal election idea, and Sunday’s vote didn’t take place. Parliament is now working on a new election law, with an election likely sometime this summer.
That break in the electoral calendar allowed political parties to reassess their candidates, and Civic Platform decided to dump Kidawa-Błońska, a well-regarded parliamentarian who was a somewhat plodding campaigner.
Trzaskowski, 48, has been Warsaw’s mayor since 2018, and is popular in the country’s largest city, but has been attacked by religious conservatives for wanting to bring in sex education in schools.