Gay Atheist Running for President in Catholic Poland

Biedron’s party has 10 percent voter approval rating

Robert Biedron, the mayor of Slupsk, is regarded as one of Poland’s rising political stars. The young career politician is openly gay and an atheist in an overwhelmingly Catholic country. What's more, the mayor of a city only 18 kilometers away from the country's Baltic sea coast is now regarded as one of the probable candidates for the presidency of Poland.

Both Polish media and the voting population know Beidron as leader of new and progressive political movement, and he is president material beyond doubt. Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former President of Poland, has requested him to compete for the presidency in 2020. Present day opinion polls place Biedron in third place behind Andrzej Duda, the incumbent president. Donald Tusk, the former prime minister, and present European Council President occupies peak position.

Poland is presently governed by the Law and Justice (PiS) party. This political entity was elected to form a government in 2015. The PiS was the first party from 1989, the year communism ended in Poland, to form a majority government. The country saw a total rout of the left, with no left of center candidates winning parliamentary seats. The party is known to be a conservative one, espousing Roman Catholic values and on-the-face patriotism. It is also anti-elitist. The list of popular measures instituted by it includes subsidized housing, free medicines earmarked for senior citizens and more child benefits.

To outsiders, Biedron's political ascent seemed surprisingly easy. The 42-year-old career politician was Poland's first gay Member of Parliament in 2011. He won the Slupsk mayor post in 2014. This is a far cry from his youth when he was beaten up in the street for being homosexual. Now everyone, he says, smiles at him and greets him. He points out that it is clear of Poland changing. Gay marriage continues to be outlawed in Poland. Biedron finds this painful as he marries a number of couples due to his position as mayor.

The next presidential election is scheduled to be held in 2020. There is plenty of dissatisfaction with the ruling party among Polish liberals. Political pundits are now trying to find out how much this dissatisfaction will translate into actual votes. For Biedron, the next few years could be a challenging one. His Your Movement party has 10 percent approval rate compared to the ruling party's 40 percent.

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