Polish presidential candidates target traditional heartland

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Polish presidential candidates target traditional heartland

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Tapping into Poland’s conservative, Catholic base will be crucial to winning the country’s presidential contest.

Euronews visited Radzymin, just east of Warsaw, a town of great historical pride to Poles. A famous military victory here against the Bolshevik Red Army in 1920 maintained Polish independence.

Radzymin’s mayor believes the town reflects the mood of the country.

“This great national tragedy, the dramatic events in Smolensk were particularly painful for the people of Radzymin because President Kaczynski visited us here, as did the generals. It is an historic town. Our country’s changing political climate is felt very strongly here,” says Mayor Zbigniew Piotrowski.

The shock death of President Lech Kaczynski united many Poles in grief. Political partisanship, while not silenced, was at least subdued.

The change of focus allowed the dead president’s brother, Jaroslaw to be seen in a different light and perhaps gave him a natural connection with Poles, regardless of their prior opinions of him.

Personal grief has given Jaroslaw political capital, in Radzymin and elsewhere. That is certainly the case for Radzymin residents Grzegorz and Marzena Malek. Grzegorz told euronews:

“The tragedy of Smolensk convinced us even more that we made the right choice before the catastrophe…we know who should be commanding our country.”

Marzena added: “And we think that we need to keep a political balance in our country. That means the government and the president should come from different sides. I have always tried to maintain this balance when I have voted.”