Poland’s Foreign Minister dismisses calls for his resignation

Poland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, has dismissed calls for his resignation after accusations that his ministry organised the presidential vote for diaspora Poles in such a way that would benefit the incumbent president Andrzej Duda, who has his political background in the ruling Law and Justice party.

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, many diaspora Poles were not allowed by their local authorities to vote in person but had the opportunity to participate in a postal vote after ordering electoral packages.

During a press conference on July 14th, Minister Czaputowicz, told the press that 480,000 election packages had been sent abroad, of which 83 percent were filled out and returned by voters.

Mr Czaputowicz stated that not all electoral packages arrived with voters on time, but that it was not the fault of the ministry as it had sent them out within the statutory deadline. The minister also denied that the ministry had taken actions to support any of the candidates.

He called the accusation of partisanship unjust and lamented that unfounded claims were being spread both on social media and traditional mass media.

The Minister stated that the ministry never expected that 100 percent of the electoral packages would be sent back as some voters didn’t want to take part in the run-off after their favourite candidate didn’t advance from the first round of voting while other voters had gone on vacation and were not home to receive the electoral package at the address they had indicated.

The minister said that some voters did not receive their electoral packages because of complications on the side of the local post office or postman but that such problems can happen in every country, including back in Poland.

In response to the complications with the voting process abroad, Borys Budka, head of the largest opposition party Civic Platform, has called on the minister to resign, but the minister stated that he believes that the demand was made under the influence of the nerves that often appear in political leaders in connection with elections.

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda won 51.03 percent of the votes in Sunday’s second round of the presidential election. The turnout was the second highest in any Polish election since the fall of communism in 1989, translating the president’s 51 percent into 10,440,648 individual votes.