Poland’s Duda Begins 2nd Term as President

Poland’s conservative president, Andrzej Duda, has been sworn in for a second term before parliament members.Most opposition parliamentarians and some former leaders did not attend the ceremony Thursday, both because of COVID-19 restrictions and to show their disapproval of what they call Duda’s disregard for the constitution during his first term, and his almost total acceptance of the ruling right-wing party’s policies that have put Poland at odds with European Union leaders.In a speech to lawmakers after taking the oath of office, Duda said Poland should strengthen Euro-Atlantic ties and cooperate with NATO allies, in particular the United States.Last week, Poland’s Defense Ministry announced the U.S. would establish a permanent military presence in Poland by deploying around 1,000 troops.Many seats for opposition lawmakers were empty, except for several members who wore outfits and masks in rainbow colors and held up copies of the Polish constitution at the end of Duda’s speech.Duda won 51.03% of votes in the July 12 election runoff while his challenger, liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, received 48.97% votes. 

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