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Poland begins voting in election delayed by virus

first_imgVictory for Trzaskowski, also 48, would deal a heavy blow to the Law and Justice (PiS) government, which has relied on its ally Duda to endorse polarizing legislation, especially judicial reforms.While the PiS insists the changes are needed to weed out judicial corruption, critics and the European Union insist they erode judicial independence and democracy just three decades after Poland shed communism.US President Donald Trump, who regards the populist PiS administration as a key European ally, gave Duda his blessing this week.Trump invited him to the White House on Wednesday as the first foreign leader to visit since the coronavirus pandemic began, just four days ahead of election day.  Concerns over democratic standards and bread and butter issues top the agenda as Poles began voting on Sunday in round one of a tight presidential race that had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Incumbent Andrzej Duda, 48, is campaigning for re-election in a vote that could determine the future of the right-wing government that supports him.Ten candidates are vying to replace him, but opinion polls show that Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, a liberal from the main Civic Platform (PO) opposition party, will enter a neck-and-neck run-off on July 12. Originally scheduled for May, the ballot was postponed due to the pandemic and a new hybrid system of postal and conventional voting was in place on Sunday in a bid to stem infections. While official figures show over 33,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 deaths, the health minister has admitted that there are likely up to 1.6 million undetected cases in Poland, an EU country of 38 million people.Duda has promised to defend the governing party’s raft of popular social benefits, including a child allowance and extra pension payments — a key factor behind the populists winning a second term in October’s parliamentary election.Bread and butter issues are weighing heavily on voters’ minds as the economic fallout of the pandemic is set to send Poland into its first recession since communism’s demise.”I’m happy. I can’t complain; I get an extra pension payment and children are getting 500 zloty,” Irena, a 63-year-old pensioner, told AFP in the central Polish town of Minsk Mazowiecki.”I’d like this to continue,” she added, declining to provide her surname.Duda has also echoed PiS attacks on LGBT+ rights and Western values, something analysts see as a bid to attract voters backing a far-right candidate.Campaigning with the slogan “Enough is Enough”, Trzaskowski promises to use the experience and contacts he gathered as a former European affairs minister to “fight hard” for a fair slice of the EU’s 2021-27 budget, and to repair tattered ties with Brussels.He has however vowed to keep the PiS’s popular welfare payments.While many see his PO party as a weak and ineffectual opposition, Trzaskowski supporters regard him as a bulwark against the PiS’s drive to reform the courts, something they insist risks destroying any notion of an independent judiciary.”I’m a lawyer and this [PiS justice reforms] affect me directly,” Marek, 60, told AFP in Minsk Mazowiecki, also declining to provide his surname.”It’s as if a blacksmith would go to a watchmaker’s shop and try to put things in order. People might support it, but in the long run these reforms will have to be reversed.”Since winning power in 2015, both Duda and the PiS have in many ways upended Polish politics by stoking tensions with the EU and wielding influence through state-owned companies and public broadcasters.Some analysts view the election as a crucial juncture: a second five-year term for Duda would allow the PiS to make even more controversial changes while defeat could unravel the party’s power.A win for Duda would pave the way to “bolstering ‘Eastern’ tendencies, like the rise of oligarchs… and a drift to the Budapest model [of Hungary’s Viktor Orban] – that’s the danger,” Warsaw University political scientist Anna Materska-Sosowska told AFP.Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time and will close at 9:00 p.m. with an exit poll expected as soon as voting ends. Topics :last_img read more

Area Softball Sectional Pairings Released

first_imgFor the second consecutive year, a record number of teams (379) – one better than 2017 ‐ were drawn and placed into brackets this evening to set the stage for the 34th Annual IHSAA Softball State Tournament Series.Sectional action runs May 21‐26 with the 64 survivors moving into a one‐game regional round on Tuesday, May 29. From there, 32 teams will square off in four‐team semi‐states on Saturday, June 2, with the four state championship games scheduled for Saturday, June 9, to be played for the first time at Purdue University’s Bittinger Stadium in West Lafayette.Area Sectional Pairings.Class 1A-Sectional 60 @ Rising SunG1: Rising Sun vs. North Decatur.G2: Hauser vs. Oldenburg Academy.G3: Winner of G1 vs. Winner of G2.G4: Jac‐Cen‐Del vs. South Decatur.Championship: Winner of G3 vs. Winner of G4.Class 2A-Sectional 45 @ MilanG1: Austin vs. Milan.G2: Switzerland County vs. Southwestern (Hanover).G3: South Ripley vs. Winner of G1.Championship: Winner of G2 vs. Winner of G3.Class 3A-Sectional 29 @ Franklin CountyG1: Franklin County vs. Greensburg.G2: Lawrenceburg vs. Batesville.G3: Winner of G1 vs. Winner of G2.G4: Madison Consolidated vs. South Dearborn.Championship: Winner of G3 vs. Winner of G4.Class 4A-Sectional 14 @ East CentralG1: Columbus North vs. Bloomington North.G2: Columbus East vs. Shelbyville.G3: Winner of G1 vs. Winner of G2.G4: East Central vs. Bloomington South.Championship: Winner of G3 vs. Winner of G4.last_img read more

Doyle confident of Vent progress

first_img Press Association Doyle said: “It was a very good run. He was a little bit babyish with his jumping at the first fence and at the fence going past the stands, but after that he was foot perfect. “I’d say Mouse’s horse stripped a good bit fitter than ours and he’s obviously a very decent horse as well. “We’ll try to find another beginners chase in the next two or three weeks and we’ll look to step him up in grade once we get a bit better ground. “He’s by Martaline and most of his (progeny) – horses like Dynaste, Very Wood and Pique Sous – tend to want better ground. His best performance was on the nice ground at Punchestown in the spring. “We’ll get him out again soon and then hopefully look at something better at Christmas time, as long as the ground is suitable. “Generally you’d have to be very pleased with his run the other day and hopefully there’s plenty to look forward to.” Trainer Liz Doyle is confident there is “plenty to look forward to” with Le Vent D’Antan following his encouraging effort in defeat on his chasing debut at Naas. center_img The talented bumper performer signed off a novice campaign over hurdles with an impressive success at the Punchestown Festival and was a hot favourite to get his fencing career off to a winning start at Woodlands Park on Saturday. Although he came up short, filling the runner-up spot behind the Mouse Morris-trained Real Steel, Doyle is expecting plenty of improvement from her talented youngster. last_img read more

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