Press Digest: Russia critic Andrzej Duda wins Polish presidential elections

During his election campaign, Andrzej Duda talked with people, shared coffee with them near subway stations and even took selfies in Warsaw, May 25, 2015. Source: Reuters

During his election campaign, Andrzej Duda talked with people, shared coffee with them near subway stations and even took selfies in Warsaw, May 25, 2015. Source: Reuters

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring reports on the results of the presidential election in Poland and regional elections in Spain, as well as analysis of the first year of Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko's presidency.

Duda’s win in Polish elections spells further tension between Moscow and Warsaw

Online newspaper Gazeta.ru reportson the results of the second round of the presidential election in Poland, which ended in victory for opposition candidate Andrzej Duda, who is known for his harsh criticism of Moscow and his earlier proposal to send troops to Ukraine to help Kiev crush last year’s uprising by Russian-backed rebels in the country’s Donbass region. The publication reports that Duda received 53 percent of votes, while the incumbent Bronisław Komorowski polled 47 percent.

Gazeta.ru reminds its readers that the majority in the current Polish parliament belongs to the centrist party Civic Platform, which supported Komorowski, but Duda's victory can be seen as the first attempt of his right-wing party Law and Justice to return to power after nearly a decade in opposition. In addition to its criticism of Moscow’s foreign policy, the party is known for being in favor of close cooperation with the United States and the setting up of NATO bases on the country's territory.

Sergei Utkin, head of the Department of Strategic Assessment in the Center for Situation Analysis at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Gazeta.ru that, with relations between Russia and Poland being "quite tense" due to the crisis in Ukraine, a further ratcheting up of rhetoric can be expected following Duda's rise to power.

However, he notes that everything will depend on the parliamentary elections in October, for which the forecasts are very different.

"There is an opinion that the defeat of Komorowski is the beginning of the end for Civic Platform, but there are those who believe that the shake-up will help to mobilize the party,” says Utkin.

 

Spain exchanging People's Party for people power

The traditional political forces in Spain – the People's Party and the opposition Socialist Party – are losing voter support, the business daily Kommersant reports. This is the outcome of local elections that have resulted in the success of newcomers – the left-wing party Podemos and the center-left party Ciudadanos, the newspaper says.

According to Irina Prokhorenko, a senior researcher for the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the "Greek factor" will also play a role in the future.

Since January, Greece has been governed by the radical left-wing coalition Syriza, which gained popularity for promising to end the policy of austerity, against a background of economic problems.

"Spaniards will be closely watching Greece, to see how much the pre-election promises of political forces like this are at odds with reality, and whether these kinds of people are able to manage countries in general," said Prokhorenko.

Kommersant adds that parliamentary elections, to be held before December 20, may put a decisive end to the two-party system in Spain.

 

Poroshenko's year of empty promises

The tabloid daily Moskovsky Komsomolets reviews the first year of Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko's presidency. According to sociologists from the Ukrainian branch of global market research firm TNS, the activities of the president are approved only by 1 percent of Ukrainians, while 31 percent consider his work entirely unsatisfactory and 37 percent agree that he is not coping with his duties to the full extent, the newspaper reports.

Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that during the past year Ukraine's state debt has exceeded 1.5 trillion hryvnia ($70 billion), the country has seen its national currency devalued three times over, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has predicted a 7.5-percent reduction in Ukraine’s GDP by the end of 2015.

Denis Denisov, director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of CIS, told Moskovsky Komsomolets that it has been a year of unfulfilled promises.

"As we remember, Poroshenko gave the Ukrainians a lot of ambitious promises ahead of his election, but none of this has come to pass. Instead, Ukraine has found itself in deep economic crisis, its financial system is effectively destroyed, and social tensions are increasing,” said Denisov.

"The next year will be even harder for the country than the previous one because it will default, which will lead to the further impoverishment of Ukrainians,” he continued.

“A year ago, Poroshenko was well aware what position he claimed and what he wanted to achieve. But he ended up a businessman in presidential office. At year-end 2014, his corporation Roshen increased its profits nine times over, while the vast majority of sectors in Ukraine's economy have shrunk."

 

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