Business News

Poland’s ‘anti-LGBTQ+’ President re-elected

July 17, 2020

Polish President Andrzej Duda has been re-elected with 51.2% of the vote following a  campaign in which he demonised and scapegoated LGBTQ+ communities.

Although the race was widely viewed as a referendum on the European Union, Duda’s victory comes on the heels of a re-election bid in which the anti-EU incumbent President targeted the queer and trans community. Referring to LGBTQ+ rights as an ‘ideology,’ he claimed it is ‘destructive to man’ and worse than communism. Duda also pledged to ban same-sex unions through a constitutional amendment if re-elected.

Duda, whose Law and Justice Party (PiS) controls a slim majority in Parliament through a ruling coalition with other political parties, may now be able to limit rights for LGBTQ+ people.

Since Duda took office in 2015, Poland’s global LGBTQ+ rights standing has consistently eroded. Five years ago, it ranked 33rd in ILGA’s Rainbow Europe ranking, which rates European nations on their friendliness to queer and trans people in law and policy. It has since fallen nine spots to 42nd, the lowest ranking among EU member countries.

In contrast, Duda’s liberal challenger, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, who finished with 48.8%, ran on a platform supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. As mayor of Poland, he signed an executive order last year that encouraged the teaching of LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education in schools.

That progressive move led to widespread backlash in the socially conservative, majority Catholic nation. Over 100 towns and local municipalities — which make up more than a third of Poland — would declare themselves ‘LGBTQ+ free zones’ in a campaign spearheaded by the far-right lobby group Agenda.