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Poland's top politician defends policy after election crisis

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Poland's ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, center.
Poland's ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, center.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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The leader of Poland’s ruling coalition has defended the government amid questions of how it plans to handle a political crisis over the country's postponed presidential election, according to excerpts of an interview published Sunday.

The election set to take place Sunday was suspended following debate over how and when voting could be done safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The government had proposed an all-postal vote, but criticism of the plan and infighting complicated preparations and led to the postponement announced late Wednesday.

In excerpts from an interview with a weekly newspaper, Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Poland was “changing for the better” under the coalition government led by his party and two smaller parties. At the same time, Kaczynski said it was no secret the coalition was divided.

The three-party governing coalition has “quite a radical wing and a very moderate one, too. Friction between them is nothing new, I think,” said Kaczynski, who is Poland's chief policymaker.

Poland's Niezalezna.pl portal on Sunday quoted from the interview set to be published Wednesday by weekly newspaper Gazeta Polska.

One of the junior parties in the coalition wanted the election delayed and warned last week that it would vote against the legislation authorizing the postal vote. Under pressure, the ruling coalition said the election would be declared void and new date set.

President Andrzej Duda, whose term expires Aug. 6 is seeking reelection, with the support from Law and Justice. He leads opinion polls ahead of nine other candidates.

The election is the first in almost 31 years of democracy that a vote scheduled in accordance with Poland's Constitution did not take place. Leaders of the ruling coalition held at least one emergency meeting over the weekend, but a new date for the election has not been announced.

Left-wing leaders have called on all opposition parties to meet Wednesday to discuss options for holding the election.

Kaczynski, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and ruling party members laid wreaths and prayed at the monuments to the victims of the April 10, 2010 plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski , the party leader's twin, and 95 others, who are remembered on the 10th of every month.