330,000 Poles abroad register to vote for president: foreign ministry

Around 330,000 Poles living abroad have registered to vote by absentee ballot in an upcoming presidential election, Poland’s foreign ministry was cited as saying on Tuesday.

The Polish foreign ministrys building in Warsaw.

The Polish foreign ministry’s building in Warsaw.Photo: gov.pl

In 21 countries—the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Argentina, Morocco, Colombia, Thailand, and the Philippines—Polish citizens will only be able to vote by postal ballot, state news agency PAP reported.

Meanwhile, Poles living in Peru, Chile, Kuwait, Venezuela and Afghanistan as well as those working in North Korea will be unable to cast their votes in the June 28 national election, according to the foreign ministry in Warsaw.

A total of 169 voting districts will be created abroad for Poland’s presidential election, following a decision by Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

In 74 of these districts, Polish citizens will only be able to vote by postal ballot.

Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk told a news conference on Monday that Polish absentee voters in countries such as the United States, Britain and Germany would have no other option but vote by mail, following decisions by local authorities.

Those decisions were beyond the Polish foreign ministry’s control, he said.

More than 100,000 Polish expats in Britain have registered to vote, alongside 50,000 in Germany, more than 25,000 in the United States, and around 20,000 in Ireland, according to the Polish foreign ministry.

Eleven contenders are running in Poland’s presidential election, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 28.

If none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent the vote, under Polish election rules a second round will be held two weeks later, on July 12.

Under a set of rules approved by parliament and signed into law earlier this month, the election will be conducted via a mixed system of postal and traditional in-person voting.

Citizens who want to vote by postal ballot have to inform officials by June 16. Those who aim to vote by mail abroad had until June 15 to notify a consul.

Conservative incumbent Andrzej Duda, who has been president since 2015, is seeking re-election and appears to be the front-runner in the race.

Duda’s rivals in the presidential race include middle-of-the-road politician Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the rural-based Polish People’s Party (PSL); leftist Robert Biedroń; far-right hopeful Krzysztof Bosak; and celebrity journalist Szymon Hołownia.

Poland’s main opposition party, the centrist Civic Platform (PO), in mid-May chose Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski as its new pick for head of state to replace deputy parliamentary Speaker Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska.

The Polish presidential vote was originally scheduled for May 10, but failed to go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP

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