Candidates in Polish election differ on minority rights, climate

by Reuters
Sunday, 12 July 2020 10:47 GMT

Election posters of the Mayor of Warsaw and the presidential candidate of the main Polish opposition party Civic Platform (PO) Rafal Trzaskowski and Polish President Andrzej Duda hang on a fence in Leszno, Poland July 6, 2020. Piotr Skornicki/Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS

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Incumbent conservative Andrzej Duda and liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, hold starkly different views on policy

WARSAW, July 12 (Reuters) - The candidates in Poland's presidential election, incumbent conservative Andrzej Duda and liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, hold starkly different views on policy.

Following are their main positions on key issues. A president can veto legislation and propose laws but has a limited executive power in Poland.

SOCIAL ISSUES

LGBT rights have been at the forefront of the campaign. Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) says he wants to defend the traditional family and what he views as Catholic values by changing the constitution to block gay couples from adopting children and banning teaching about LGBT issues in schools.

Trzaskowski, also a Catholic, has said that he supports civil partnerships for LGBT people and LGBT rights more broadly. However, he is against adoption by LGBT couples.

Trzaskowski wants to reinstate public funding for in-vitro fertilisation that was ended under PiS.

THE ECONOMY

Duda favours large infrastructure investments by the central government.

Trzaskowski says he will leave a lot of major investment decisions to local authorities, which he argues have been deprived of influence since PiS took power. He wants to hold off on major PiS projects such as a canal through the Vistula Spit until Poland recovers from the coronavirus hit to the economy.

Both want to maintain the government's flagship child subsidy programme.

MEDIA

Duda has vowed to maintain Poland's public television - which has supported his campaign - as it is. He has tried to portray some foreign media outlets, particularly German-owned ones, as set on discrediting him and the ruling party.

Trzaskowski has said he would get rid of public broadcaster TVP's flagship news programme and dismantle and rebuild public television to make it less politicized.

RULE OF LAW

Duda wants to deepen the government's justice reforms which the European Union says politicise courts and undermine democratic norms. Trzaskowski pledges to veto any new legislation that would subvert them.

DEFENSE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Duda has secured a pledge from the United States to send more U.S. troops to Poland as part of efforts to deter Russia.

Trzaskowski has said the army needs continued modernisation and that it has fallen into disrepair under PiS.

In foreign policy, Duda has focused on bilateral relations with Washington, while Trzaskowski wants to repair relations with Brussels.

CLIMATE

Duda has supported the government's decision to be the only EU country not to sign up to climate neutrality by 2050 and has promoted investments into "clean coal" in an effort to defend the coal industry.

Trzaskowski says Poland needs to move away from coal towards renewable energy. (Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk Editing by Frances Kerry)