Duda says he is a president of Polish affairs

Rafał Guz/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda declared in a speech inaugurating his second term to be a president of Polish affairs, and underlined that this would be the motto of his presidency.

"Just as I have promised, I will be a president of Polish affairs. This was not simply an election slogan, this is the motto of my presidency," the president stated, underlining that family, security, jobs, investments and dignity were of key importance for Poland.

Earlier Duda took the oath of office before the National Assembly.

"All power in civil society [should be] derived from the will of the nation - our great predecessors wrote down these extremely important words in the May 3rd Constitution. They have proved to be very actual over the recent days, weeks, and today. Power comes from the will of the nation, and the nation has expressed its will in the election. The Polish people have the right to decide who is to be their president, their head of state, and they have made their decision," Duda stated.

Having underlined the high election turnout, the president said that over 20 million Poles took part in the voting. "This is a great thing and a huge success of Polish democracy," he said, adding that nearly 10.5 million people had cast their votes on him.

"This is, above all, great responsibility," he stated, saying that "this is also a great honour and strength, since this is the biggest number of votes cast in an election in nearly 30 years."

"My compatriots have positively evaluated five years of my presidency. And they have given me a strong, democratic mandate for the next term."

Duda admitted that the recent presidential election was difficult due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of its date, but underlined that "the most important thing is that we managed to hold the election in a democratic, just and very efficient way, and that the Polish people could use their right to vote."

The president said that "today, democracy in Poland is stronger than ever. Citizens know that Poland's most important affairs and its future depend on their votes. (...) This is a great thing and a huge success of all of us."

Duda declared that he wanted to be a president of Polish affairs, which were important for his voters as well as supporters of other candidates. He assured the gathering that he was open to cooperation and that the door to the Presidential Palace was open to various millieus and representatives of all political parties. "We should build the widest possible agreement. I will be working towards this goal," he said.

President Duda appealed to Poles "to jointly and in the spirit of national unity and pride celebrate the observances marking the centenary of the Battle of Warsaw, our great national triumph and victory, which saved Poland and Europe from criminal tyranny." He recalled the late President Lech Kaczynski and underlined that he had always been looking for common denominators and in political life.

Duda repeated that family, security, jobs, investments and dignity were of key importance for the Polish people and himself. "Family is our greatest good and we have to do everything to protect it and create conditions for its development," he said.

Referring to jobs, the president stated that he wanted Poland to be an ambitious country, which develops its potential and offers new and well-paid jobs. "A Poland which can economically compete with other countries, and which offers conditions of economic and professional development to its citizens," he went on to say.

The president added that this was especially important for the generation of young Poles "who must have a chance to find a job in Poland" instead of emigrating. "For years high unemployment had been a real curse. It had been killing the dreams of the Polish people, forcing them to seek work abroad. Today, in the face of the crisis, we have to do everything that is possible for this situation not to repeat itself," he underlined, adding that this very important task was being implemented today by the government, parliament and president.

Referring to security, the president said it had to be broadly perceived, since this was not only the police and army but also energy, health and food security.

"Today, Poland is a safe country with a good and stable position on the international arena, in Europe and worldwide. In order to strengthen security we have to continue the modernisation of our uniformed services, we have to further modernise and develop our army and cooperative abilities with allied forces stationed in Poland, with special emphasis on US troops," Duda said, adding that it was also necessary to consolidate Euroatlantic and NATO ties.

According to Duda, Poland's energy security is being strengthened owing to the development of domestic and international infrastructure securing gas deliveries to Poland. He mentioned here a gas pipeline from the Norwegian shelf via Denmark and the Baltic Pipe going to Poland, the development of the gas terminal in Swinoujscie, north-western Poland, and the planned construction of a floating gas terminal in Gdansk, northern Poland.

Speaking about investments, President Duda underlined that without them one could not think about Poland's development today and in the future. "And we have to return to the path of dynamic development, on which we were before the pandemic. This is a historical challenge today," he said, mentioning such projects as the Central Transportation Port, the development of the Swinoujscie gas terminal, the development of sea harbours and the shipbuilding industry.

Referring to dignity, President Duda said that Poland is a country of great people, a hospitable, open and beautiful country with a great history that we are proud of. The head of state underlined that Poland has been a part of Europe for 1,054 years, and asked not to forget this.

Concluding his inaugural speech, the president expressed his conviction that Poland had a good future, and that together the Polish people could achieve a lot. "I believe that we will make use of the greatest chance for the Polish nation in 200 years, given to us by the fact that we have a sovereign, independent, democratic and safe Poland. This is our task for the future."

President Duda was reelected for a five-year term of office on July 12 with 51.03 percent of the vote. Rafal Trzaskowski, his contender representing the Civic Coalition (KO), received 48.97 percent.