Tanned, athletic figure, the outgoing Polish head of state, Andrzej Duda, who won his re-election in the second round of the presidential election, displayed a broad smile on Sunday 12 July in front of his supporters.
Key man of the ruling Nationalist Conservative Party (Law and Justice Party (PiS)), he narrowly won the victory against the mayor of Warsaw, the europhile and liberal Rafal Trzaskowski, at the end of a knife-edge campaign . He owes his victory on the wire in particular to the precious support of the government and the public media controlled by the government.
>> Read on France24.com: In Poland, two visions of society clash in the presidential election
Originally from Kraków, from a family of teachers at the Academy of Mines, choir boy and boy scout in his childhood, good skier, Andrzej Duda is married to a German teacher, Agata, and father of a girl.
Claiming his Catholic faith, he advocates traditional values and declares himself favorable to the hardening of the anti-abortion law, already among the most restrictive in Europe, and firmly condemns in vitro fertilization and the "LGBT ideology" which is for him. "more destructive than communism". The latest statement sparked protests in Poland and abroad, as did his attacks on foreign and independent media. He never openly declared himself Eurosceptic, but called the European Union "an imaginary community from which we have little to gain".
The Polish "friend"
But this 48-year-old conservative jurist turns out to be above all a man of the Law and Justice (PiS) party. "He is a party man who carries out his orders," political scientist Stanislaw Mocek, rector of the Collegium Civitas University in Warsaw, told AFP.
Elected for his first mandate in 2015, the outgoing president rarely contradicted the initiatives of Jaroslaw Kaczynski's party [president of the Council from 2006 to 2007], fully subscribing to his policy of generous social transfers accompanied by a test of Right wing state. Duda has indeed supported a long series of social benefits promoted and introduced by PiS, in particular the lowering of the retirement age from 67 to 65 and the distribution of a monthly allowance of 500 zlotys (110 euros) for each child.
Graduated in law in 1996 from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, in the south of Poland, Andrzej Duda joined the PiS around 2005, when the formation of Jaroslaw Kaczynski mounted his first government. The power of the PiS chief was then reinforced by that of his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, who died in an air disaster five years later.
Elected in 2011 as a PiS deputy and then, in 2014, a European deputy, Andrzej Duda is not really known to the general public when Jaroslaw Kaczynski, undisputed master of the PiS, nominates him as candidate for the presidency of the Republic.
Strengthening ties with NATO
In foreign policy, Andrzej Duda has worked since the start of his mandate to strengthen ties with NATO and the United States. He was thus able to welcome the decisions of the Alliance and Washington to deploy their troops in the region in reaction to the aggressive policy of Moscow in neighboring Ukraine.
Four days before the first round of voting, Duda visited US President Donald Trump, who has praised his Polish "friend", first foreign leader invited to the White House since the anti-Covid measures -19 in the United States.
His opponents and critics, in Poland and abroad, particularly criticize him for his commitment to bringing the Constitutional Court and other judicial institutions into line. This approach had led Brussels to seize European justice in 2018 and to launch unprecedented procedures.
>> Read also: EU launches infringement procedure against Poland for its reform of the Supreme Court
The France 24 week summary invites you to come back to the news that marked the weekI subscribe
Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 appgoogle-play-badge_FR