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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
New Polish president may spell eurosceptics’ return to power
     2015-May-29  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Andrzej Duda’s shock win in Poland’s presidential election has capped a rapid rise from backroom obscurity to head of state,  and may herald a new political chapter in eastern Europe’s biggest economy.

    POLISH voters have opted for change and chosen the conservative and relatively unknown lawyer Andrzej Duda as their next president, spelling a possible return to power of his eurosceptic mentor in autumn parliamentary elections.

    The opposition challenger clinched a surprise victory May 24 against incumbent centrist Bronislaw Komorowski, who is allied with the governing Civic Platform (PO) party and until recently was expected to secure a second term.

    An MEP (Member of the European Parliament) with a populist streak who promised change and generous social spending, Duda secured 51.55 percent support ahead of Komorowski’s 48.45 percent, according to final results from the election commission Monday.

    The result gives a key indicator of the national mood ahead of a general election expected in late September or early October that analysts say could return Duda’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to power after eight years.

    PiS leader and Duda mentor Jaroslaw Kaczynski — a populist ex-premier and twin brother of the late president Lech Kaczynski — will be the party’s candidate for premier, several PiS officials said Monday.

    The 43-year-old Duda will take up his new office Aug. 6 and enter into what is expected to be a difficult cohabitation with the PO government of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in the Central European heavyweight.

    Political scientist Radoslaw Markowski believes Duda’s victory surprised the party itself.

    “Their problem now will be to maintain his image as a president of all Poles, given that he was elected mainly thanks to a rural and poorly educated electorate,” he said.

    The governing liberals were also to blame for the outcome in the EU member nation, according to political analyst Eryk Mistewicz.

    “Over the course of eight years, the PO built up a system that is closed off to youths, where upward mobility is impossible.”

    The PiS is nationalist and eurosceptic and agrees with the country’s powerful Roman Catholic church on issues including abortion.

    The Church congratulated the devout Duda, who visited the Jasna Gora monastery in the southern city of Czestochowa to offer “thanks for the support.” The monastery is home to the Black Madonna, an ancient Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary that is believed to work miracles.

    Kaczynski gained a reputation for being highly combative and eurosceptic during his 2006-7 stint as prime minister, when he served in tandem with his late twin, who died in a 2010 plane crash in Russia.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday congratulated Duda and called for “the building of constructive ties between Russia and Poland, based on the principles of good neighborly relations and a mutual respect for each other’s interests.”

    The two countries’ historically complicated ties are in the doldrums as Poland has been one of the fiercest critics of Soviet-era master Russia over its alleged meddling in Ukraine.

    Duda has called for NATO to station its troops on Polish soil. As president, he will have limited powers but is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, steers foreign policy and has the right to introduce and veto legislation.

    At home, Duda could try to block a draft law that would make in vitro fertilization (IVF) reimbursable.

    The economy could be the biggest minefield for Duda, who believes Poland should only enter the eurozone once the European single currency has solved all its debt woes.

    He has promised to lower the retirement age from 67 to 65 years and cut taxes for those earning the least while upping taxes for supermarket chains and banks.

    But lowering taxes is “unfeasible” according to Witold Orlowski, chief economist at Price Waterhouse Coopers Polska.

    Duda crisscrossed the country throughout the campaign wooing the man on the street, always full of energy, his sleeves rolled up and a broad smile on his face.

    In keeping with his man-of-the-people image, Duda appeared Monday at a Warsaw subway station and gave out free coffee to passers-by. He also announced that he would give up PiS membership as Polish presidents are supposed to remain neutral.

    As head of state, Duda will be in charge of the armed forces, coordinating foreign policy with the foreign minister, signing or vetoing bills and drafting his own legislation. He will also appoint the head of the central bank.

    Duda has also suggested Poland should curb foreign ownership in the banking sector. About two-thirds of Poland’s profitable and well-capitalized banking sector is foreign-owned.

    He has also backed a conversion of mortgages denominated in Swiss francs into Polish zlotys at historical exchange rates, a move that would mean billions of zlotys in losses for the banks, and called for a new tax on bank assets like that adopted in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    “One has to work on the Polish economy, so that we start getting closer to real prosperity and not prosperity on paper,” Duda said shortly before Sunday’s run-off.

    Born in the southern Polish city of Krakow, Duda is the son of two academics, and in his early years was a churchgoing and bookish boy scout. He earned a law degree, and later a Ph.D., from the Jagiellonian University, Poland’s oldest academic institution.

    In 2005, the year of Law and Justice’s last parliamentary victory, Duda became an adviser to the party’s parliamentary caucus, helping draft one of its flagship bills on vetting public officials who might have a communist past.

    He went on to become deputy justice minister in the Law and Justice government, later joining Kaczynski as a legal adviser.

    He was involved in a legal challenge to a bill introducing stricter state oversight over a network of Polish credit unions, drawing criticism from opponents who say this delayed the legislation and put the stability of the financial system at risk.

    (SD-Agencies)

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