|6th President of Poland|
6 August 2015
|Preceded by||Bronisław Komorowski|
|Member of the European Parliament|
1 July 2014 – 12 June 2015
|Member of the Sejm|
9 October 2011 – 1 July 2014
|Born||Andrzej Sebastian Duda
(1972-05-16) 16 May 1972
|Political party||Independent (2015–present)|
|Freedom Union (2000–2001)
Law and Justice (2005–2015)
|Spouse(s)||Agata Kornhauser (m. 1994)|
|Children||Kinga (b. 1995)|
|Alma mater||Jagiellonian University|
Andrzej Sebastian Duda (Polish pronunciation: [ˈandʐɛj ˈduda] ( listen); ) is a Polish politician who is the sixth and current President of Poland, holding the office since 6 August 2015. Before his tenure as President, Duda was a member of Polish Lower House (Sejm) from 2011 to 2014 and the European Parliament from 2014 to 2015.
Born in Kraków in the former Polish People’s Republic, Duda studied law at the Jagiellonian University, obtaining the position of assistant in the Administrative Law Department of Jagiellonian University in 2001 and a PhD degree in law in 2005, not graduating due to subsequently leaving the university to focus more on his political career. Duda was elected to become a member of the Polish Sejm on 9 October 2011, and once again to become a member of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, an office he retained until shorly before being elected President.
Duda was the presidential candidate for Law and Justice in the 2015 presidential election in May 2015, of which he won the first round, amassing a total 5,179,092 votes – 34.76% of valid votes. In the second Duda took 51.55% of the vote against the 48.45% share of his rival, then-incumbent Bronisław Komorowski, thus winning the election, and subsequently resigning from party membership on 26 May 2015.
Andrzej Duda was born in Kraków to Janina Milewska and Jan Tadeusz Duda, professors at the AGH University of Science and Technology. His grandfather fought in the Polish–Soviet War and later in the Home Army during the Second World War.
Duda attended Jan III Sobieski High School, Kraków.
Duda studied law at the Jagiellonian University. In October 2001 he was appointed as an assistant (holding M.A.) in the Administrative Law Department of Jagiellonian University, and in January 2005 obtained a PhD degree in law there. Due to his political career, he has been mostly on unpaid leave since September 2006, except for a 13-month interval beginning in September 2010, when he returned to the university.
Early political career
Duda began his political career with the now-defunct Freedom Union Party in the early 2000s.
After the parliamentary elections in 2005, he began his collaboration with the Law and Justice Party (PIS).
From 2006 to 2007 Andrzej Duda was an undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Justice.
Then, from 2007 to 2008, Duda was a member of the Polish State Tribunal.
During the presidency of Lech Kaczyński, from 2008 to 2010, he was an undersecretary of state in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.
In 2010, he was an unsuccessful candidate to become the Mayor of Kraków as a PiS candidate, but was more successful in the 2011 parliamentary election, where he received 79,981 votes for the Kraków area, and thus became an envoy to the Sejm.
In September 2013, the news magazine Polityka commended him for being one of the most active MPs at the time, describing him as being open to opposition arguments and as refraining from personal attacks, as part of his role at the Commission for Constitutional Responsibility. However, he did not sit out the term, becoming elected in 2014 as a member of the European Parliament.
2015 presidential campaign
In the first round of the 2015 presidential election, Duda came first, receiving 5,179,092 votes and thus 34.76% of valid votes.
In the second round Duda took 51.55% of the vote against the 48.45% share of his rival, then-incumbent president Bronisław Komorowski. On 26 May 2015, he officially resigned from party membership.
The five-year term of Andrzej Duda began on August 6, 2015 with taking an oath of office during a National Assembly session.
Duda rejected the European Union’s proposal of migrant quotas to redistribute asylum seekers, saying: “I won’t agree to a dictate of the strong. I won’t back a Europe where the economic advantage of the size of a population will be a reason to force solutions on other countries regardless of their national interests”.
Eventually former Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz declared that Poland, as an expression of “European solidarity”, would take in 2,000 people over the next two years, mainly from Syria and Eritrea (out of 3,700 originally requested).
Duda and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović were the originators of the Three Seas Initiative.
Criticism and controversies
On November 16, 2015, basing on Art. 139 of the Constitution of Poland, Duda pardoned former Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) head Mariusz Kamiński and three CBA officers convicted by a court of 1st instance in the so-called Land Affair (Afera gruntowa), marking the first pardon granted by a president before reaching a final verdict. According to some lawyers (including professors Jan Zimmermann – Andrzej Duda’s doctorate promoter, Leszek Kubicki – former Minister of Justice and Andrzej Zoll – former president of the Constitutional Tribunal) Duda has breached the Constitution of Poland.
Andrzej Duda has denied swearing in any of the five Constitutional Tribunal judge candidates selected by the Sejm of the VII cadence and the three of those mentioned that were selected since 7 November 2015 whose election was declared constitutional.
On 3 and 9 December 2015 the President swore in five other candidates for the same office selected by the Sejm of the VIII cadence.
On 28 December 2015 Duda signed the Constitutional Tribunal bill passed in 22 December 2015 by the Sejm, which unequivocally breaches the Constitution of Poland according to the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland, the Public Prosecutor General and the Polish Ombudsman.
In June 2016 Duda rejected appointing 10 judges selected by the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland.
In July 2017, about 50,000 people demonstrated in Warsaw against changes in the justice system. On July 24, Duda informed the public he had decided to veto two judicial bills backed by the government and passed by both houses of the Polish parliament. The President’s spokesman subsequently said that the third act – the common courts bill – would be signed.
Duda is married to Agata Kornhauser, a teacher of German at Jan III Sobieski High School in Kraków. They had met at a party while still attending rival schools and have been married since 21 December 1994.Together they have one daughter, Kinga, born in 1995, now also studying law. His father-in-law is Julian Kornhauser, a well-known writer, translator and literary critic of Jewish descent.
He is a keen skier and while studying participated in the Polish Academic Championships in the Alpine skiing category.
Duda is a devout Catholic, and the Church is very important to him. He took part in religious ceremonies on many occasions, including Midnight Mass, the blessing of food on Holy Saturday, or the Corpus Christi procession in Kraków.
- Poland: Order of the White Eagle (ex officio)
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (ex officio)
- Portugal: Order of Merit Grand Cross (2008)
- Belgium: Order of Leopold (2015)
- Bulgaria: Order of Stara Planina (Стара планина) (14 April 2016)
- Czech Republic: Order of the White Lion (15 March 2016)
- Norway: Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (23 May 2016)
- Romania: Order of the Star of Romania (10 July 2016)