Warsaw mayor is opposition candidate for Poland’s president

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s main opposition party on Friday named Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski as its new candidate in the country’s trouble-ridden presidential election.

The previous candidate for the center-liberal Civic Platform party and its smaller partners, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, quit the race earlier in the day because she lost almost all support when she called for a boycott of the election held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Scheduled for last Sunday, the election has been postponed to a date yet to be announced.

Trzaskowski, 48, a political scientist who was on scholarships in Oxford and Paris, has been Warsaw mayor since 2018. Trzaskowski, a former deputy foreign minister and former European Parliament member, is backed by the Civic Coalition of the Civic Platform and smaller political groups.

Trzaskowski said his situation was “not easy” and required “full consolidation and energy to fight and win in this election.”

“I hope this great wave of change will start in Warsaw,” he said.

He needs to gather at least 100,000 signatures of support before he can run against the front-runner, incumbent President Andrzej Duda, and a few other candidates, including nonaligned TV journalist Szymon Holownia, who is rising in opinion polls.

The election was postponed four days before it was due to take place amid coronavirus restrictions and political infighting over how and when to hold the vote. The ruling coalition had pushed for an all-postal vote, but the necessary legislation was not ready on time.

The legislation is currently being changed in parliament to allow for the casting of ballots at voting stations and an optional postal vote.

The new date for the election should fall before late July. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said he would like it to be in June.

Duda, whose term expires Aug. 6, is seeking reelection with the support of the ruling, right-wing Law and Justice party.

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