Łódz Mayor called a ‘fraud’ by top politician

Łódź mayor Hanna Zdanowska. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

The leader of the third largest Parliamentary grouping ‘Kukiz15’ has voiced his outrage at the likelihood of the re-election of Hanna Zdanowska, the Łódz Mayor, supported by the Civic Coalition, who has recently been convicted of giving false financial information.

“What’s happening to this nation that we are even considering thinking of voting for someone who has been caught cheating? This for me is mind-boggling..what has happened to our dignity and our ethics, sighed Mr Kukiz, appearing on a public TV current affairs programme.

He argued that this was evidence of the weakness of Polish law that “a convicted cheat can stand for election… a financial cheat has at her disposal the third largest municipal budget in Poland!”

Ms Zdanowska was convicted for knowingly counter-signing false information contained in her life partner’s loan application. She is still standing for the post of Mayor and has gone on record saying that she does not feel she has done anything wrong, as the bank had not found anything wrong with the application.

The Mayor of Łódz is able to stand for her post again as a result of a discrepancy in legislation. One law on employment of local government officials does not allow them to be employed if they have a criminal record. But the electoral code for local government allows candidates who have not been sentenced to prison to stand for election. Ms Zdanowska was fined but received no prison sentence.

The ruling party’s minister of state at the Council of Ministers Jacek Sasin, has warned that although Ms Zdanowska is entitled to stand, the government’s Voivod (prefect) will not, in line with legislation on the employment of local government officials, allow for her to take up office. His statement has been attacked the Civic Coalition, as an attempt to “blackmail” the voters.

Ms Zdanowska is forecast to be re-elected in the first round of voting on October 21. Opinion polls estimate her support to be well above the required 50 percent needed to win. Her nearest rival’s poll ratings, the Law and Justice candidate Waldemar Buda are no more than 20 percent.

Paweł Kukiz is a Polish rock musician who leads the eponymous “Kukiz 15” movement. He stood for President of Poland in 2015 and polled over 20 percent of the vote. His movement came third in the parliamentary elections in 2015 polling nine percent.

His politics are anti-establishment centre-right, and he has often been compared to Italy’s Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement.