Poland’s Main Opposition Picks Challenger in Presidential Ballot

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s biggest opposition party picked Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska as its candidate for presidential elections that will take place in the middle of 2020, hoping she may help trigger change in the country’s political landscape.

Kidawa-Blonska, 62, beat Poznan city mayor Jacek Jaskowiak in the party’s primary elections on Saturday, pledging to block controversial law changes and to push for health-care and education reforms. She also warned that the ruling Law & Justice party has already started “Polexit,” by wavering from the European Union’s climate deal and proposing regulations on disciplining judges.

The pro-European Civic Platform that ruled Poland from 2007-2015 is seeking ways to regain power after it lost the last two elections with Law & Justice offering vast social contributions and promising to be the guardian of a traditional, family-oriented society. While the president has no direct impact on government decisions, he can veto parliament bills, requiring a qualified majority to reject it. He may also submit his own legal proposals.

President Andrzej Duda, who is leading in the polls, has been broadly criticized for a lack of defiance against controversial regulatory changes passed by his Law & Justice party in the past few years. That includes the overhaul of the judicial system that pushed the country into a spat with the European Commission over rule-of-law standards. Law & Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said today in an interview with PAP newswire that proposed new penalties on judges are needed to avoid “anarchy” in the country’s courts.

The ruling party lost its majority in the Senate in the October ballot, which could slow down, but not derail, its legislative efforts. Kidawa-Blonska, a film producer, won the biggest number of votes amid all candidates in October elections, winning in the metropolitan Warsaw constituency.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.