Local by-election in Rzeszów postponed because of COVID-19

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki decided to change the date of the by-election in several local authorities, including mayoral vote in the city of Rzeszów, south-east Poland, to June 13, the government spokesman Piotr Müller announced on Tuesday.

“The Chief Sanitary Inspector, due to the pandemic situation, issued an opinion indicating the legitimacy of postponing the date of by-elections in local governments. The State Electoral Commission (PKW) did not raise any objections. Therefore, the PM decided to change the date to June 13,” the government spokesman announced.

Last Friday, the Chief Sanitary Inspector issued a statement in which he declared that the local elections should be postponed due to the still unstable pandemic situation, and the recommended solution is to postpone any election measures to the second decade of June 2021.

On Monday, the Governmental Legislation Centre (RCL) published several draft regulations regarding these elections, including for the Mayor of Rzeszów, for the mayor of Kąty Wrocławskie, the mayor of Bogatynia (both south-west Poland), the mayor of Tuczno (north-west Poland) and the mayor of Ustka (northern Poland), in which, due to the pandemic situation, the election date was postponed to June 13.

Rzeszów in the spotlight

The public opinion is most interested in the elections for the office of the Mayor of Rzeszów. The candidates for this position are: Ewa Leniart, the provincial governor of Podkarpackie province, supported by the NSZZ Solidarity trade union and the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, deputy Justice Minister Marcin Warchoł supported by former city president Tadeusz Ferenc; Konrad Fijołek, a deputy head of the city council and the leader of the Rzeszów Development Club, as well as a former collaborator of the current mayor of the city who is supported by the Left, Civic Platform (PO), Polish People’s Party (PSL) and Poland 2050 parties. The last candidate is Grzegorz Braun, an MP of the right-wing Confederation grouping.

Pursuant to the election law, the by-elections are held in connection with the expiry of the mandate of the mayor. The date of the elections is determined by the PM, after consulting the PKW. The regulations state that elections are ordered and held within 90 days from the date of the cause of the expiry of the mandate.

The election commissioner in Rzeszów declared on February 10 the mandate of the previous city mayor, Tadeusz Ferenc, to expire. The PM’s decision announced on March 11, set the original date of the by-election for May 9.

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