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Timeline of the election chaos

(May 14, 2020)


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The Political Accountability Foundation released a timeline of events leading up to the non-election on 10 May in Poland. Due to last minute amendments introduced to the electoral legal framework, voters were deprived of their right to cast a vote in the presidential election on the date indicated in  accordance  with  the  Constitution  of  the  Republic  of  Poland, which  created  uncertainty  as  for  the interpretation of the law with respect to the conduct and completion of the election scheduled on February 5, as well as regarding the possibility, conditions and dates of scheduling a new election.  

Any new election would, as of now, be subject to provisions of the Act of April 6 which entered into force May 9, unless new election legislation is passed before election day. For an explanation of the Act of April 6 read our Policy Alert here.

Summary of information regarding the conduct of the election of the President of the Republic of Poland scheduled for May 10, 2020 (as of May 11, 2020)

– The voting scheduled for May  10  did  not  take  place  due  to  lack  of  legal  and  organizational preparati

– On February 5, 2020 the Speaker of the Sejm (lower house of parliament) ordered the election of President of the Republic of Poland to be scheduled for May 10, 2020.

– Due to  the  coronavirus  SARS-CoV-2  pandemic,  on  March  14  the  government  introduced  in  Poland  a state of epidemic emergency, and few days later, on March 20 – the state of The latter, according to provisions of Polish law, does not constitute a state of emergency recognized by the Constitution, therefore it does not have any implications on the scheduled date of election; 

– In parallel  to  legislative  amendments,  adopted  due  to  ongoing  epidemic  state  and  aiming  to safeguard  public health  and  protect  the  economy,  the  legislative  began  to  introduce  changes  to electoral legal framework;

– As a result of the changes introduced to election law, while the preparation of election, as well as campaigning were already underway, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), institutional body in charge of administering the election,  was partially  deprived of  its  powers, becoming unable to successfully complete the election preparation process; 

– The responsibility of NEC was automatically transferred to other bodies of government or municipal administra Consequently, during the ongoing election preparation process for some time there were no institutional bodies in charge to perform activities  necessary to successfully administer voting. This gap was finally filled in on May 9, 2020, i.e. one day before scheduled election day;

– Finally, amendments introduced to electoral legal framework resulted in failure to prepare legal and organizational conditions for voters to cast their votes on May 10 (no ballots, no method and place to cast the ballot, absence of municipal precinct election commission responsible for counting votes and preparing protocols).

– The summary of the current situation (as of May 11, 2020):

– on May  7  NEC  issues  a  communication  informing  about  the  inability  to  conduct  voting  on May 10,  

– on May 8 the Council of Ministers issues its position informing about the inability to conduct voting on May 10,

– on May  10  NEC  adopts  a  resolution  stating  the  lack  of  possibility  to  vote  for  candidates  on May  10,  which  means  that  within  14  days  from  the  date  of  publication,  in  accordance  with the Election Code, the Speaker of Sejm shall order new election to take place within 60 days from the announcement and on a day off, and

– on May  11  the  Supreme  Court  issues  the  communication  indicating  that  it  will  examine electoral  protests  against  the  election  of  the  president  only  once  NEC  discloses  the  election result  to  the  public,  and  that  the  NEC’s  resolution  of  May  10  “is  not  the  equivalent  of  the resolution  on  the  basis  of  which  the  voting  results  are  disclosed  to  the  public  by  National Electoral Commission”.

The full statement is available here



And a timeline of all events leading up to the non-election on May 10 can be found here

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