Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) failed to place an amendment on April 6 allowing next month’s presidential election to be carried out via postal vote only.
The setback highlights growing political tension in Poland during the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). PiS, which imposed countrywide lockdown measures early into the epidemic, has been under fire for adopting what critics say is a too modest economic stimulus package to address the inevitable economic crash.
The party – which co-rules with two junior coalition partners – also appears determined to hold the presidential election on May 10, when the epidemic might only be approaching its peak. That would be an enormous risk to public health, medical experts and the opposition charge.
Poland has to date confirmed 4,201 coronavirus cases, including 98 deaths, the health ministry said this morning.
PiS planned to place the motion about the vote at today’s sitting of the parliament but unexpectedly the motion failed to win a majority after some of its own MPs voted against, abstained or did not vote. Also, two MPs from the junior coalition party Alliance did not support the motion.
In response, PiS called a recess in the sitting until later this afternoon with speculation abounding that it will want to carry out the vote again.
A postal vote-only election of the head of state would be unprecedented. There are 30mn eligible voters in Poland who would all need to receive voting kits in the mere four weeks left until the election date.
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