Poland's populist ruling party backs president's reelection

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's right-wing ruling party on Saturday endorsed President Andrzej Duda's reelection in the country's May 10 presidential vote.

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At a convention in Warsaw that launched the incumbent president's campaign for a second five-year term, Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski called Duda the party's “dream candidate" and a guardian of Poland's Constitution.

A former Law and Justice member, Duda has backed the governing party's populist policies, including changes to the judicial system that have drawn condemnation from the European Union as anti-democratic.

The government insists it has the right to determine how Poland's justice system operates. Duda pledged to continue supporting the changes in how judges are appointed and disciplined and other government proposals dealing with the judiciary.

He is facing election challenges from Deputy Parliament Speaker Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, who is running for the main opposition Civic Platform party, and other opposition candidates, including Krzysztof Bosak for the far-right Confederation party.

Surveys have ranked Duda as Poland's most popular politician, although a May 24 runoff vote may be needed to decide the presidential contest.