Law and Justice (PiS) have named the candidates who will top the 13 regional lists for the European elections this May. As expected the list is littered with senior PiS figures.
The biggest surprise is that the Interior Minister, Joachim Brudziński is to head the list in the North-West. He is a close associate of the party leader Jarosław Kaczyński and a minister who has earned respect even among the opposition.
There is no surprise that the former PM and current Deputy PM Beata Szydło is to lead the list in the South of Poland. This has been signalled for months and she is a popular figure among PiS voters.
In Warsaw PiS are going to lead with someone who only recently became associated with the ruling party. Jacek Saryusz-Wolski was since 2004 a Civic Platform MEP and before that a minister responsible for preparing Polish accession to the EU. He stood against Donald Tusk in the election for the President of the European Council when the Polish government made a point of underlining its opposition to Mr Tusk being re-elected to the post in 2017.
The current education minister Anna Zalewska will lead the list in the south-west of the country. This too was expected, though there will be those who doubt if her turbulent reign in the ministry of education marked by serious conflicts with teachers will make her an attractive electoral proposition.
The former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski will lead the PiS list in the central Łódz region. Foreign affairs issues have caused the ruling party problems with the dispute with the EC over the rule of law.
The top candidate for PiS in central west of the country will be Prof. Zdzisław Krasnodębski, currently one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament on behalf of the European Conservative Reformers which PiS is a part of.
Second on the lists
The highly prized second spots on the lists produced some surprises. The government’s spokesperson Joanna Kopcińska and the PiS spokesperson Beata Mazurek are both attempting to switch their current government and Polish parliamentary positions for positions in the EP. So is Beata Kempa, the minister for humanitarian aid and Jarosław Sellin, the influential deputy Culture minister.
Well known senior MEPs such as Prof. Ryszard Legutko, the former VP of the EP Ryszard Czarnecki and the former Agriculture minister Krzysztof Jurgiel may feel a little disappointed to have been made to contest these elections from second place on the list.
The party has still to complete formulating the full lists of 10 candidates for each of the 13 regional constituencies. It is expected that Patryk Jaki the deputy justice minister and candidate for Mayor of Warsaw last year will be standing in a no. 3 position in one of these constituencies.
Poles will vote for their MEPs in 13 regional constituencies. Parties which obtain over 5% of the national poll will be able to participate in the share-out of seats. The number of seats allocated to each constituency will be dependent on turnout.
PiS are the first party to present their leading candidates. The opposition parties are still in the middle of forming electoral coalitions between themselves, or as in the case of Robert Biedroń’s “Spring” party they are in the process of forming.
List of the 13 PiS list leaders
Joachim Brudziński - Zachodniopomorskie,
Beata Szydło - Małopolsko-Świętokrzyskie,
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP- Warsaw
Adam Bielan - Mazowsze
Witold Waszczykowski - Łodzkie,
Elżbieta Kruk -Lubelskie,
Karol Karski MEP- Podlaskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie,
Tomasz Poręba MEP - Podkarpacie,
Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP - Wielkopolskie,
Anna Zalewska- Dolno- Śląskie,
Anna Fotyga MEP- Pomorskie,
Kosma Złotowski MEP- Kujawsko-Pomorskie,
Jadwiga Wiśniewska MEP - Śląskie