Polish head of state signs presidential election bill into law

2020-06-02 21:09 update: 2020-06-03, 11:41
Photo PAP/Marcin Obara
Photo PAP/Marcin Obara
President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday evening signed into law a bill setting the principles of organising the 2020 presidential elections during the coronavirus epidemic, presidential spokesperson Blazej Spychalski announced on Twitter.

Under the new rules, Poles will be able to vote in polling stations with adherence to a strict sanitary regime, or by post.

The new law paves the way for restarting the election process after the failed May 10 elections, which were cancelled at the last minute under an agreement by the ruling coalition leaders and amid technical problems with organising the vote, which was meant to be an all-postal one.

Candidates registered for the May 10 vote will not have to re-register for the new ballot, but new candidates will have to gather 100,000 signatures to run in the election. For the time being, this concerns Rafal Trzaskowski, the candidate of the main opposition bloc, the centrist Civic Coalition, whose previous candidate, Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, withdrew from the race amid falling support.

Earlier on Tuesday, Poland's Sejm (lower house) ended the parliamentary process by finally passing the bill as it accepted some amendments made earlier by the Senate, the upper house, and rejecting others.

Among the rejections is a proposal to give candidates at least 10 days to register committees and gather supporting signatures.

Also among the rejected amendments were a proposal obliging the Sejm speaker to announce the election date in agreement with, and not, as originally stated in the bill, in consultation with the State Electoral Commission, and one endorsing electronic signatures in support of new election candidates.

The Sejm also declined to extend the working hours of district election commissions and reduce the Supreme Court's deadline for validating the election results.

Also rejected were an amendment stating that the receipt of election packages must be confirmed by voters, and another raising the number of district election committee members from three to five.

Also rejected were amendments concerning deadlines for sending election packages to foreign-residing voters, and introducing protective clothing cost refunds for local authorities.

Passed, among others, was an amendment ceding the right to determine the voting format (postal or regular) in given regions from the health minister to the State Electoral Commission. Also passed were amended postal voting regulations for quarantined and isolated voters and Braille facilitations for the blind. (PAP)

jd/ mb/ ej/