Civic Platform (PO) MP Janusz Dzięcioł has announced that he will leave his party to run for the post of mayor in the northern Polish city of Grudziądz.
As there is already a Civic Platform candidate for the post (current mayor Robert Malinowski), he has to leave the party to pursue the position.
Janusz Dzięcioł wants to run for mayor of Grudziądz
“I don’t agree with what is happening in Grudziądz, and if Civic Platform can’t help me change the city, I will have to find others willing to do so,” said Mr Dzięcioł, who announced that he will run on the local committee ticket.
As of press time, Mr Dzięcioł hadn’t officially left PO, but his decision could have significant repercussions for the ruling coalition. After three conservative MPs left Civic Platform a few weeks ago, the coalition, which also includes the Polish People’s Party, now has only 232 out of 460 seats in the Sejm, Poland’s lower house of parliament. Losing another MP would leave them with a majority of just one vote. If anyone else were to decide to leave Civic Platform, the coalition would have three choices: find another partner, call snap elections, or attempt to govern as a minority grouping.
“Mr Dzięcioł is still a member of PO and its caucus,” the head of the Civic Platform parliamentary caucus, Rafał Grupiński, told Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, blaming his colleague’s words on “local political structure.”
There is a precedent for leaving a party but remaining in its parliamentary caucus. Back in May, Adam Żyliński relinquished membership in PO to run for mayor in Iława, in northeastern Poland, yet he still remains a member of the party’s parliamentary caucus.
Ironically, the best-case scenario for Civic Platform would see Mr Dzięcioł winning next year’s local elections, beating out the party’s candidate. As a result he would have to leave parliament and his seat would be given to the next person on the Civic Platform ticket.
The three MPs to have already left Civic Platform in recent weeks are Jacek Żalek, Poland’s first black MP John Godson and former Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin.
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