Polish parliament passes presidential election bill, date still to be fixed - Metro US

Polish parliament passes presidential election bill, date still to be fixed

FILE PHOTO: The Polish Parliament during a session in Warsaw

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s parliament approved on Tuesday legislation allowing a delayed presidential election to go ahead using a mixture of postal and traditional voting, though the speaker of the lower chamber has still to announce a date for the ballot.

The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) had tried to hold the election on May 10, as originally scheduled, using only postal ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that plan collapsed, leaving the vote in limbo.

The new bill was adopted late on Monday by the opposition-dominated Senate, the upper chamber of parliament, which added several amendments.

The lower house Sejm approved the plan on Tuesday and it must now be signed into law by the president. Then the speaker of the Sejm, Elzbieta Witek, can announce an election date.

PiS, a nationalist-conservative party, wants to hold the election as soon as possible because President Andrzej Duda, an ally, has been mostly ahead in opinion polls.

PiS fears support for the incumbent will erode as the coronavirus lockdown takes its toll on the Polish economy. One poll on Monday showed Duda losing in a second round of the vote.

Opposition parties have accused PiS of putting their political interests ahead of public health concerns, a charge the ruling party denies.

PiS, which has a small majority in the Sejm, needs an ally in the presidential palace to advance its conservative agenda, which includes pressing on with reforms of the judiciary that the European Union has said undermine the rule of law.

(Reporting by Anna Koper and Alan Charlish; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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