Polish president has solid mandate
Sir, – Your recent editorial on the presidential election in Poland presented a very jaundiced view of the outcome (“The Irish Times view on Poland’s election: a story of two countries”, July 14th). You describe the result as “a story of two countries”, where “the west of the country voted or the liberal challenger . . . Rafal Trzaskowski, while the more conservative east opted for the incumbent Adrzej Duda”. These bald assertions suggest that Mr Duda received little or no mandate from a vast swathe of the country. In fact, the full published results show that he received at least 40 per cent of the vote in each of the country’s 18 provinces, including those in the west where Mr Trzaskowski received the most support. This represents a strong mandate even from those areas in which voted for his opponent.
You also portray Mr Duda’s 51 per cent win as evidence of a divided country. If that is the case, then Poland has been in a constant state of division for the last 30 years. Of the seven presidential elections held since the fall of communism, the winning candidate has received 54 per cent or less in six of these occasions. Only the great Lech Walesa achieved a decisive win, achieving 73 per cent of the vote in 1990.
The most extraordinary feature of the election was the huge turnout, which rose from 55 per cent in 2015 to 67 per cent this month. An extra 4.5 million Poles voted in the election, with Mr Duda increasing his own vote by 1.8 million, a huge personal endorsement which received no mention in your piece.
Should we not celebrate this huge exercise in democracy by the Polish people, rather than lamenting it as your newspaper and the entirety of the European media appear to be doing? – Yours, etc,
THOMAS RYAN, BL