Ex-presidents to back current president's rival in run-off vote

Former Polish presidents Bronisław Komorowski (L) and Aleksander Kwaśniewski (R). Piotr Nowak/PAP

Former Polish presidents Bronisław Komorowski and Aleksander Kwaśniewski said on Tuesday that they would support incumbent President Andrzej Duda's rival Rafał Trzaskowski in the July 12 run-off round of Poland's presidential election.

Kwaśniewski and Komorowski voiced their support of Trzaskowski, the centrist Civic Coalition (KO) candidate, at a press conference in Warsaw. Kwaśniewski stated that Trzaskowski was "better for Poland." According to Komorowski, Trzaskowski offered a presidency that "rather sought to bind than to divide" and one that would "guarantee respect for democratic values and civil rights."

Komorowski said both he and Kwaśniewski knew well that no president would ever make everyone happy, but stressed that Trzaskowski was a better choice when it came to Poland's growth and international standing.

"Our (beliefs in - PAP) Polish democracy, Poland's position in the Western world, civil freedom and free enterprise, as well as our striving to become a part of the global democratic community, should encourage all, despite their occasional differences, to vote for the candidate who offers the strongest guarantee (...) that these issues will be respected,", Komorowski said, announcing that he will vote for Trzaskowski in the July 12 ballot.

Kwaśniewski said he would vote for Trzaskowski and appealed to his left-wing supporters to do the same. Admitting that there were political differences between Trzaskowski's political circles and Poland's left, Kwaśniewski nonetheless called Trzaskowski "a better choice for Poland, a choice of hope for change in Poland."

Kwaśniewski criticised incumbent President Andrzej Duda for violating constitutional law, weakening the country's democratic system, and worsening Poland's position in the EU. He also blamed Duda for putting Poland's national security at risk by permitting the "incongruous experiments" launched in Poland's defence sector under former Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

Kwaśniewski said he believed Trzaskowski was capable of setting matters right in the country and would efficiently halt all threats to democracy and civil rights.

"Today, a new president could put all these things right. I believe Rafał Trzaskowski will come up with many good ideas (...) and will veto any threats to democracy or civil liberties," Kwaśniewski said.