‘I will support Trzaskowski in second round’: Hołownia

The independent presidential candidate and TV celebrity Szymon Hołownia has said that he will vote for Rafał Trzaskowski, the Civic Platform (PO) candidate, but he hoped that he, rather than Mr Trzaskowski will be the voters choice to face incumbent President Andrzej Duda in that second round of the election.

Mr Hołownia makes this admission in a recording placed on his facebook profile. He condemned President Duda for the latter’s alleged hatred campaign against LGBT and said that he would support any candidate who faces Mr Duda in the second round of polling.

“If Rafał Trzaskowski gets into the second round I will of course vote for him. I will choose the lesser evil”. He also said that he suspected that Mr Trzaskowski will end up saving the PO for at least some time but that he would still lose to President Duda in the deciding round and that this was why he had urged the PO to support an independent candidate.

Opinion polls indicate that it is Mr Trzaskowski who will come second in the first round. He is still trailing President Duda, but is now well ahead of Mr Hołownia in all reported surveys.

Mr Hołownia and Mr Trzaskowski agree on most issues. However, Mr Hołownia’s pitch to the voters is that of a need for an independent president who will distance himself from all political parties.

On his way to the PO?

However, sources close to the PO have been whispering that Mr Hołownia is considering his next moves after the presidential election and that he may choose to ally himself with the Civic Coalition (KO) the electoral coalition of which the PO is the instigator and dominant member.

Despite his declaration of support for Mr Trzaskowski in an eventual second round Mr Hołownia will not be leaving the race before the first round of polling. It is unlikely that the PO would wish for that to happen as the party hopes that Mr Hołownia will mobilise the parts of the electorate they find they cannot reach and deliver them on a silver plateau for the second round two weeks hence. The next few days of the campaign will show if Mr Hołownia’s voters stick with him or whether they will decamp to Mr Trzaskowski even in the first round of polling.

Mr Hołownia’s declaration does cast doubt on whether he seriously wants to create a political entity which is independent of the KO. This contrasts with the stance taken in 2015 by the then independent candidate, rock musician Paweł Kukiz, who having come third in the first round of polling with 21 percent did not come out openly in support of Law and Justice (PiS) candidate Andrzej Duda and formed his own movement that ran an independent slate of candidates in the parliamentary election of that year. But Mr Kukiz did continue to attack the then incumbent PO backed President Bronisław Komorowski and most of his supporters did back Andrzej Duda in the second round of the presidential election.

Trzaskowski sure of getting Biedroń’s support but not Kosiniak-Kamysz

Mr Trzaskowski may find it harder to get the endorsement of Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, the presidential candidate of the Polish People’s Party (PSL). The PSL is a permanent fixture on Poland’s political stage which found it hard to be in an electoral alliance with the PO and the left during the European elections last year. Many of its rural supporters are not enamoured with Mr Trzaskowski’s metropolitan liberal image.

But the PO presidential challenger should have no problem getting the support of what’s left of Mr Biedroń’s vote. The former mayor of Słupsk’s campaign for the Left has failed to inspire voters. Most Left voters are already backing Mr Trzaskowski in the first round of polling.

Mr Biedroń and Włodzimierz Czarzasty, the leader of the former post-communist Democratic left Alliance have merged their groupings into one Left party which works with Adrian Zandberg’s Together party in one Left parliamentary caucus. However, Mr Biedroń and Mr Czarzasty may want to join the KO in the future. Mr Czarzasty has already once been in alliance with the PO during the European elections and was unhappy when the then PO leader Grzegorz Schetyna terminated cooperation once PSL left the coalition the PO was heading.

If this happens then Mr Zandberg and his party will be left on their own as the standard bearers of the left. This may be the price that Together is paying for the fact that Mr Zandberg, whether for personal or political reasons, failed to become the presidential candidate of the Left. Had he run and put in a strong performance the Left coalition may have prospered. A serious and humiliating electoral defeat that Mr Biedroń looks like he is likely to suffer on June 28 will make that difficult.