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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Polish election winner officially named president-elect

Andrzej Duda

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Andrzej Duda, the conservative winner of Poland’s presidential election, was officially named president-elect in a solemn state ceremony Friday.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, some state officials, and Duda’s parents, wife and daughter attended the ceremony to see the 43-year-old lawyer receive the official document confirming that he won the election. His five-year term starts Aug. 6.

The national anthem played and then the head of the State Electoral Commission handed Duda the documents.

He and his wife, Agata, later met with a group of supporters waiting outside the Baroque Wilanow Palace with white-and-red flags to chant his name and sing the national anthem.

In a speech, Duda appealed to the government to make no major policy or constitutional system changes until he takes office. He vowed to work for national unity after the election revealed voters were almost evenly divided between him and President Bronislaw Komorowski. Some 45 percent of people eligible to vote did not.

Poland’s president has limited power, most of which rests with the prime minister and the Cabinet. He is the supreme commander of the armed forces and can propose and veto legislation. In foreign policy, his role is mainly ceremonial.

Until the campaign, Duda was little known in Polish politics, though he has been a deputy justice minister and a member of the presidential office under President Lech Kaczynski. He became a European Parliament member in 2014, but resigned that post Wednesday to become president.

Duda is a member of the Law and Justice party, which mixes traditional Catholic and national values with social concerns. His unexpected victory against Komorowski of the ruling pro-business Civic Platform was seen as a warning for the establishment ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

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