Polish President Andrzej Duda, a conservative with the judgment Law and Justice celebration who operated on an anti-LGBTQ platform, directly won a 2nd, five-year term in a bitterly battled weekend election, beating the liberal Warsaw mayor, according to a near-complete count of votes.
Human rights and LGBTQ supporters alerted that Duda’s triumph might indicate a brand-new attack on human rights, even as his razor-thin margin of triumph demonstrates how politically polarized Poland has actually ended up being — especially over LGBTQ problems, according to Rafal Pankowski, a sociology teacher at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw.
“It is quite important to stress — it was a very close race,” Pankowski stated. “The polarization is very, very strong, to the point where friends and family — within families — people stop talking to each other.”
The high citizen turnout throughout a pandemic showed the election’s big stakes and the deep cultural departments in this European Union country. Even prior to Duda’s win, Poland’s divide over LGBTQ problems was on global display screen when a gay political leader called Robert Biedron ran in an earlier round of Poland’s governmental election, drawing contrasts to previous South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s U.S. main run.
During his very first term, Duda made headings for stating LGBTQ ideology was even worse than communism — remarks he later on strolled back — and throughout this project he vowed to prohibit same-sex marital relationship and LGBTQ adoption rights.
Pankowski stated that a person homophobic catchphrase concerned control Duda’s project: “LGBT are not people” — a shorthand variation of a longer expression that involved a Law and Justice member of parliament after he said it on TELEVISION: “LGBT are not people, they are an ideology.”
When Duda later on stated he supported the embattled legislator and duplicated the expression at a political rally, Pankowski stated, “I think that was the highest level endorsement of homophobic hate speech we could imagine — and it was not a one-off thing.”
Philippe Dam, Human Rights Watch’s advocacy director for Europe and Central Asia, stated that Duda’s very first term drove polarization around the problems of ladies’s rights, sexual rights and LGBTQ problems more usually, all of which “move away from EU principles.”
“Even the rhetoric of local administrations establishing LGBT-free zones, the impact of the rhetoric used by the candidate for president, really created a context of demonization of LGBT people,” Dam stated. “And that itself is really dangerous in a modern society.”
So-called LGBT-free zones — a conservative effort to pass nonbinding resolutions opposing “LGBT ideology” — have actually now been developed in the areas and towns covering approximately a 3rd of Poland’s location, according to Pankowski. These “zones” were likewise advertised by Gazeta Polska, an extreme right tabloid encouraging of the Law and Justice celebration, in the kind of sticker labels consisted of with problems in 2015.
Last month, in the heat of the governmental election, Poland’s Jewish leaders condemned the development of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, stating, “We Jews — the descendants of Holocaust survivors — cannot and will not remain indifferent to words that would dehumanize LGBT persons.”
Also in June, Duda got an evident recommendation from President Donald Trump with a last-minute White House see, throughout which Trump applauded the Polish leader, stating, “He’s doing a terrific job. The people of Poland think the world of him.”
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, condemned Duda’s White House see at the time, calling it “a clear and unambiguous attempt to leverage Trump’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the Polish elections.”
Pankowski, who is likewise a member of Poland’s Never Again human rights group, stated that Duda’s celebration makes use of homophobia as a political weapon.
“In some ways it was a cynical calculation,” Pankowski stated of Duda coming out versus same-sex marital relationship — a political concern so questionable regarding not even be under factor to consider in Poland. “I think in a way those issues were artificially put on the agenda in order to create polarization.”
Pawel Knut, a Polish human rights lawyer, composed in an op-ed for NBC News THINK that Duda’s marketing versus LGBTQ problems is “particularly effective in distracting public opinion and redirecting attention from other more important problems.”
“A recent example of this strategy occurred in April, when in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, Law and Justice unexpectedly introduced a bill in parliament called the ‘Stop Pedophilia Act,’ which proposed penalizing members of the ‘LGBT lobby’ for providing reliable sex education,” Knut composed.
“The bill caused quite a media stir, diverting public attention from COVID-related problems,” he continued. “It eventually became buried in parliamentary committees, its propaganda mission complete.”
Duda’s 2nd term runs up until 2025.
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The Associated Press contributed.