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What can be taught by Poland’s ‘ghost election’ about pandemic era democracy



How vote-by-mail could change the 2020 election

No, this is not the United States. This dynamic takes place in Poland, which is scheduled to hold a presidential election earlier this month. Concerns about the virus and protracted partisan setbacks caused delays, last-minute mess – and for the remnants of uncertainty about when and how new elections will take place.

The result was “the selection of strange ghosts,” as a news organization call it – election day where no one voted and there was no open polling place – was the culmination of weeks of political battles between the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) and the Polish opposition party. Although the election date was set before the virus hit Poland, PiS leaders insisted that the election should proceed according to plan, worried that candidates would fight in the next election when Poland began to feel the economic impact of the pandemic. They introduced a law in early April that would impose an unprecedented vote on all 10 May.
But opposition leaders and international observers strongly oppose this plan, saying reforms are pushed too fast – and that such elections, especially under a government that has been criticized for its approach to democracy and the rule of law, amounting to a power struggle by PiS and its incumbent president, Andrzej Duda. As a result, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced only four days in advance that the vote would not actually take place; Election officials later considered it invalid and called for new elections on a date to be determined this summer.
Holding elections during a pandemic is not an easy task, as countries such as Poland have learned: In changing circumstances, officials need to balance the protection of public health by ensuring the democratic right of citizens to vote. At least 62 countries in the world, from Britain to Italy to Ethiopia to Bolivia, have choose to postpone the selection because of the spread of the virus. Others, including France, the southern German state of Bavaria, and some WE stated, has advanced with direct elections despite fears that the vote could potentially harm citizens.

But while there are no guidelines for safe and fair elections during the coronavirus crisis, Poland’s experience offers several important lessons for other countries that navigate these questions, including the US: Doing this means planning as early as possible – and somehow finding ways to set aside political alignments to produce a voting plan that everyone believes is fair.

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In Poland, political polarization is at the heart of why the situation turns into uncertainty – and why the debate about new elections may be almost as difficult as what will happen on 10 May. Even if it is possible organizationally it is possible for Poland. to move at the last minute to a ballot by mail, the ability to prepare for elections effectively doesn’t mean much if you can’t find a political consensus on how to do it.

When no party trusts the other party to act in the best interests of citizens, it affects the way people view their democracy. And this “greatly influences trust in electoral institutions,” said Zselyke Csaky, director of research for Europe and Eurasia at the Freedom House democracy watchdog. “That is a very serious concern, because it is one of the most important elements of a functioning democracy.”

As in the US, control in the Polish parliament was divided: The ruling party coalition narrowly controlled the lower house, Sejm, while the opposition narrowly controlled the upper house, the Senate. When Sejm passed a law mandating an all-mail ballot in early April, the opposition used it constitutional ability to delay statute, ultimately taking a full 30 days is permitted. This means that the law will be held until May 6, only four days before the supposed election, which leads to a last-minute struggle.

All of this could have been avoided if the PiS politicians had proposed constitutional provisions called “natural disaster conditions,” which under conditions such as a pandemic would automatically postpone elections for at least 90 days. But once the PiS leaders insisted the election was carried out according to schedule, they did not want to back off and change direction – even when leaked ballots and ballots appeared on the road asserting that the selection of papers was not ready.

Widowers, candidates who are aligned with the PiS, also benefit from incumbency power, something which, at least in this case, was even worse during the pandemic with voters who were mostly trapped at home. As sitting president, Widower could travel throughout the country, visit hospitals and talk about government actions to fight the virus – many of which were then broadcast live to voters by state television, controlled by and sympathize with ruling party.
Opposition candidates, on the other hand, are left struggling to organize press conferences through Zoom and move their entire campaign online. Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, a candidate for the Community Coalition, the largest opposition party, suspended his campaign in protest and urged supporters to boycott the May 10 elections; one survey in early April suggested some Poles had planned to vote.
Postponing the election provides a much needed reprieve for Poland, and when the debate is open about what will happen next, some in the opposition are optimistic that things will be handled a little better this time. Legislation that requires direct voting with the option of voting by mail already considered, fund new election date – possibly by the end of June or early July – is expected to be fixed soon. The Civic Coalition announced earlier this month that it had chosen a new candidate for the new election, Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who had already received significant results in the polls.

But those on the opposition still have great concern about the inherent benefits that Duda will receive as incumbent, and about the PiS’s willingness to give the scales as he wishes wherever they can.

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“There is a greater likelihood that elections will be free, but they will not be free in terms of an equal campaign,” said Milosz Hodun, an adviser to the liberal Nowoczesna (“Modern”) party, which is part of the Community Coalition. “Only the president can campaign throughout the country … all other candidates are limited to the presence of the media and online.”

The US also faces a deep political polarization that is increasingly exacerbated by this pandemic; President Trump has pitted himself against governors – especially Democrats – who have imposed stronger restrictions on fighting the virus, using his bully pulpit to call for the country to reopen as soon as possible. With each country responsible for setting its own election rules and regulations before the national elections in November, the debate over letters compared to direct voting, and access given by each country, is likely to fall along partisan lines; like Poland, this might also mean that every change only applies at the last minute.

Polish observers hope their country has learned from the failure of “ghost” elections – and that the country can immediately hold elections that run better and fairer than those that did not happen earlier this month. Others, especially the US, must pay attention as they do.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT



Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer



Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.


But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.



A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

Dand from June 24 to 30, an event called “New Stories from Portuguese Cinema” will present the perspectives of a new generation of filmmakers “whose films embody the artistic, social and political reflections that mark the 21st century,” according to the organization in a statement.

Balad o batrachio by Leonor Teles, Amor, Avenidas Novas by Duarte Coimbra and O Cordeiro de Deus by David Pinheiro Vicente are three of the 20 films that are part of this cinematic cycle.

Pedro Cabeleira, Laura Carreira, Susana Nobre, Joao Rosas, Tomas Paula Marquez, Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, Maya Cosa and Sergio da Costa, Christel Alves Meira, Paulo Carneiro, Pedro Peralta, Diogo Salgado, Catarina Vasconcelos and Aya Korezli other directors integrated into this movie cycle.

In addition to FLAD, this event is also the result of a partnership with New York-based Anthology Film Archives, an iconic venue for independent and experimental filmmaking, hosting a Portuguese film cycle featuring Francisco Valente.

“Anthology Film Archives has been a reference space for over 50 years. It seemed to us ideal to promote the works of these directors, emphasizing their uniqueness and quality. We believe that Portuguese cinema can gain more space in the United States and we want to do our part to internationalize it,” said FLAD President Rita Faden.

Francisco Valente, guest programmer, explained that the 18 selected directors are distinguished by “their unwavering commitment to using the screen to express their personal freedom, reflect their racial and gender identity, and develop narratives that comment on and expand our reality.” – in Portugal, in the United States, or in that beautiful and imaginary country called cinema.

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This connection between Portugal and the United States of America is also expressed in the documentary “In the Footsteps of Utopia”, based on the testimonies of “weird” teenagers from Queens, filmed by Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, who will come to New York to find out their joint production, which closes this cycle.

The program of the cycle is available in the Screenings section of the Anthology Film Archives “website” ( and on the FLAD “website” ( /uploads/2022/02/new_tales_final_bx.pdf).

See also: Michael J. Fox received a humanitarian “Oscar”, and Diane Warren – an honorary “Oscar”.

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