- May 30, 2019
Lewandowska: President-Elect and Trust of Polish Minority
The results of the presidential election runoff have clearly demonstrated that Poles and Lithuanians can be very much alike as far as their political decisions are concerned. This time, the majority of citizens, both Poles and Lithuanians, elected Gitanas Nausėda to run the country.
As regards the support for candidates in the election of 2014, Poles and Lithuanians had divergent positions. As much as 87.78% of residents of the Šalčininkai region supported Zigmantas Balčytis, the opponent of Dalia Grybauskaitė. This time, almost 92% of inhabitants of this region voted for the winner of the election. Curiously, the Polish minority supported Nausėda’s candidature, despite the fact that during his election campaign, he was referring to traditional Polish demands, such as the right to the original spelling of surnames in documents, with caution. Ingrida Šimonytė did not manage to win many votes of the Polish minority, even though she was in favor of Polish inscriptions, she speaks Polish and her grandmother was a teacher at “Mickiewiczówka” (Polish high school in Vilnius, TN).
Mr Nausėda’s attachment to traditional values, in particular to family values, was the reason which gained him a competitive edge. It turned out to be even more important than the Polish demands which have beed pursued for years. Now, one can boldly say that the Poles have chosen their president. Furthermore, just by looking at an electoral map of Lithuania, we can clearly see that it was the Polish minority who supported Gitanas Nausėda the most. Undoubtedly, the President-elect is a friend of Poland, as he has emphasized it many times not only during the election campaign but also shortly after. Let us hope that during his tenure, he will remember the great trust that Poles living in Lithuania have put in him.
Translated by Karolina Antos within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.