Catholic Celebrity to Challenge Polish President in 2020 Vote

Maciej Onoszko

(Bloomberg) -- Szymon Holownia, a TV show host and writer known for his Catholic views, announced plans to run against incumbent Andrzej Duda in next year’s presidential election.

The 43-year-old political newcomer focused his announcement on social solidarity, climate protection and higher standards in Polish politics, characterized by what he called “a devouring clinch” between the ruling Law & Justice and the main opposition party Civic Platform.

“It’s time for a man coming from the bottom to fix what’s broken at the top,” he said in his announcement speech delivered in a theater in Gdansk, north of Poland. “I want a Poland in which there’s no “either-or,” but “and-and,” and where both sides can be right.”

Holownia rose to fame as the co-host of Poland’s edition of “Got Talent,” a TV show he quit last month after 12 seasons. Holownia is an activist, writer and journalist supporting the liberal wing of Poland’s Catholic church. In his announcement speech, Holownia called for “friendly separation” of the church and the state.

Holownia is likely to be one of at least a handful of challengers to Duda in the 2020 vote. The current president, who has the backing of the ruling camp which won the general election this year, tops all presidential and trust polls. The Civic Platform is still to pick its presidential candidate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Onoszko in Warsaw at monoszko@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Hannah Benjamin at hbenjamin1@bloomberg.net, Andrew Davis

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