June 28 is optimal date for presidential election - dep PM

Sasin added that the already printed electoral packages could be used in the new elections. Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Poland sees June 28 as the optimal and most realistic date for holding the presidential election, deputy PM and State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin told the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP) daily on Wednesday.

Asked if the presidential ballot would go ahead this time, Sasin said "Why shouldn't it take place? It has to. Otherwise, on August 6, when Andrzej Duda's term ends, Poland will have no head of state. This will happen if the election is not settled by then. But if this question concerns the exact date of the election, experience tells me not to give a specific date."

Asked whether the optimal date was June 28, the deputy prime minister replied that "it is optimal, and also realistic." "If, today, we look at the next steps, that is, the need to amend the law on the election of the president in 2020, because the current one is not an ideal basis for voting (the new law was adopted by the Sejm, the lower house, on Monday evening - PAP) and, assuming that the opposition will continue to behave as up until now in the Senate, we have to leave 30 days for work in this chamber. Even if the law met all the opposition's requirements, it would still have to exceed the maximum allowable time in the Senate, because the opposition and Senate Speaker (Tomasz) Grodzki set obstructions, as a point of honour. For this reason, June 28 is the first possible date for the elections to take place. Also, so that after the elections the Supreme Court has enough time to confirm their validity," Sasin said.

The deputy PM was also asked whether the holding mixed elections (polling station and postal voting - PAP), because of the coronavirus threat, were not being recommended by Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski, Sasin said that Szumowski's recommendations "will definitely be taken into account." "We are looking for the best possible solution. Our offer gives Poles a free choice whether they want to cast their votes at the polling station or vote by correspondence. The number of people out on the streets is slightly less than before the epidemic. According to people, the epidemic situation is stabilised. If you can go to the store, why, with precautionary measures, can't you go to the polling station. It appears to be a safe option to vote," said Sasin.

Sasin added that the already printed electoral packages could be used in the new elections. "The Council of Ministers expressed this expectation by resolution. If new candidates do not register, they can be used, 100 percent," he said. He added that he saw no reason for the PKW (National Electoral Commission) to change the design of the ballot papers, although the PKW will have to decide what to do if an 11th candidate joined the list, or if someone already on the list resigns their candidacy.