Andrzej Duda, Polish president who vowed no reparations for Jews, appears to eke out reelection


(JTA) — Poland’s right-wing president, whose reelection campaign traded on anti-Semitic tropes, appears to have won a second term.

Andrzej Duda garnered 51.2% of the vote — the slimmest margin of victory since the fall of communist rule — with 99% of ballots counted. His challenger, Rafal Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw, can contest the results.

In the campaign’s final days, as it became clear that the election would be close, Duda and his allies increasingly suggested — including on state television — that Trzaskowski would sell out the country to Jewish interests. The mayor did not explicitly endorse paying reparations to Holocaust survivors and their descendants, something that Poland has been a standout among European nations in refusing to offer, but said he would be open to discussing the issue.

“Only someone without a Polish soul, a Polish heart and a Polish mind could say something like that,” the leader of Duda’s Law and Justice Party said last week, according to a report in Politico. “Mr. Trzaskowski clearly doesn’t have them, seeing as he says that this is open to discussion.”

Duda himself invoked anti-Semitic tropes, saying on a Catholic radio station last week, “We just don’t want to have decisions being made somewhere outside of the Polish borders.”

“Have you ever heard such homophobia, such anti-Semitism, such attacks on everybody who is brave enough to say ‘We have had enough’?” Trzaskowski asked supporters on Friday, according to a report in The New York Times. “It’s now or never.”

Election results suggest that Duda, who in January did not attend an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland, benefited from support among rural and older voters.

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