In 2020, the United States will (hopefully) elect a new president. That’s also when Poland’s presidential election will take place. While in America the field is still wide-open — there’s even rumblings Trump may have a challenger from the Republican Party — Poland’s already narrowed it down to three likely contenders. One of those is Robert Biedroń, and if he wins, he could become Poland’s first gay president.
According to a recent survey, The three frontrunners for the 2020 race are current president Andrzej Duda, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and Biedroń. According to the survey, if the election were held today, 33.5% would vote for Duda, 33% for Tusk and 11.4% for Biedroń. Though that initially sounds low, it’s worth keeping in mind that the election is more than two years away, and the campaign has not yet begun in earnest.
Biedroń is the mayor of Słupsk, a city in the north of Poland. He was first elected in 2014, and before that he served three years beginning in 2011 as a member of the Sejm, Poland’s lower parliament. Biedroń is not just openly gay — he’s an LGBT activist and an atheist.
Both of those elements make his success somewhat surprising. Poland is very conservative; between 50% and 70% of Poles don’t approve of homosexuality, and over 85% identify as Catholic.
But if Robert Biedroń were to become Poland’s first gay president, it could definitely be a good thing for the country. In Słupsk, prior to Biedroń’s election, the city was in massive debt. Under Biedroń, however, he stopped the debt’s growth rate. He also identified open housing in the city that could be fixed up and given to his constituents. Likewise, he cancelled the debt for any renters at the beginning of 2016.
Biedroń’s success in Słupsk made the rest of Poland take notice. He’s a popular politician, and he could put the right-leaning Poland on a leftward path.