Anti-gay Warsaw Mayor, Lech Kaczynski, wins Polish Presidential election

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Lech Kaczynski, the conservative mayor of Warsaw who cancelled the city’s Gay Pride parade earlier this year, has won the Polish presidential elections.

Kaczynski, representing the Law and Justice party, received 55 percent of the vote, defeating the more liberal Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform party.

Turnout for the vote was 50 percent, the lowest in 15 years.

The 56-year-old lawyer is a former child actor with his twin brother, Jaroslaw, who is head of the Law and Justice party.

The president of Poland serves as the chief of the army, but otherwise the position carries limited powers.

Kaczynski is a controversial figure for LGBT rights advocates and for liberals who are eager for Poland to become more like other countries within the European Union .

Days before the election, an unknown group calling itself the Gay Power Brigade claimed responsibility for a dozen fake bombs placed throughout Warsaw. In a lengthy letter to media outlets, the group said the stunt was meant as a statement against Kaczynski.

“Electing Kaczynski would mean the destruction of Poland,” the group said last week.

Last May, Kaczynski, as mayor of the Polish capital, refused to issue a permit for a Gay Pride parade. A short while later he issued a permit for a “normality parade,” which was denounced by the International Lesbian and Gay Association as a “demonstration whose main objective was an incitation to hate and intolerance toward LGBT people.”

In an open letter to EU leaders in June, ILGA noted that violence against LGBT people in Poland increased after the “normality parade.” In addition, a coalition of LGBT groups issued a statement calling on the president and prime minister to speak against anti-gay hatred.

“People who hold high political positions in the Polish government cannot pretend that there is no problem with hatred towards homosexuals in Poland,” the groups said.