The Polish government party PiS and coalition partner Accord agreed on Wednesday that the May 10 presidential elections will be postponed and will take place by letter.
This means that the presidential elections have been postponed four days before the ballot box. The parties have not yet mentioned a new date. According to PiS, elections can be postponed until May 23, according to the constitution.
The Polish Senate on Tuesday rejected the right-wing conservative government’s proposal to hold the vote by letter. The Polish lower house would vote on the proposal on Wednesday.
PiS already said it was unlikely that the elections would take place on the original date, but wanted to hold the elections by post at a later date.
According to PiS, citizens could vote safely in view of the corona measures, but the Senate disagreed.
Former leaders are against votes by letter
Polish former presidents and former prime ministers called for a boycott of the announced “unconstitutional” elections, because postal secrecy cannot be guaranteed. So there would be no free elections.
Coalition party Accord shared these concerns, but now seems to have put the objections aside. The deal has not been further explained in the first reports.
In Poland, most political power lies with the Prime Minister. The president has a largely ceremonial role, but can veto bills.
European Commission warned Poland
The plans to hold the elections by post had already received a warning from the European Commission (EC) on Wednesday.
Poland should ensure “free and fair” elections “in the context of the corona crisis,” spokesman for EC President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
Brussels and the PiS-led government of Poland regularly clash over democratic principles such as independent justice.
Coronavirus is less likely to spread
The corona virus killed at least 723 people in Poland until Wednesday. Nearly fifteen thousand infections have been detected in the country. The Polish government started easing measures last month because they would damage the economy too seriously.
A spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Health said on Monday that the virus’s reproduction number is expected to be 1 this week. This means that a corona patient infects one other person on average.