New senior Sejm speaker appointed

Antoni Macierewicz from Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has been named the senior Sejm speaker, said Błażej Spychalski, the spokesman of President Andrzej Duda.

The senior Sejm speaker is an honorary post. The holder of this post opens the first session of the new tenure of Poland's Lower House of Parliament, and acts as a Sejm speaker until a new one is elected for that seat by the Sejm and Senate at the first session. The senior Sejm speaker is appointed by the president from among the oldest MPs, however, the MP does not necessarily have to be the oldest one.

Mr Macierewicz will open the first session of the new Sejm which is scheduled to begin on November 12, at 12 PM. The first session of the Senate, whose senior speaker will be Barbara Borys-Damięcka, will take place four hours later on the same day.

“Mr President insisted on a person who had a rich opposition past during the communist regime, to become the new senior Sejm speaker, just like happened in 2015 [the late Kornel Morawiecki took the post - ed.],” said Mr Spychalski.

Antoni Macierewicz was one of the leaders of the anti-communist resistance in Poland. In 1976, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee, an organisation that was a predecessor of Solidarity. In the late 1970s, he was held as a political prisoner.

After the fall of the communist regime in Poland, Mr Macierewicz was an Interior Minister in 1991-1992, and a Defence Minister in 2015-2018. Since July 20, 2010, he is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for the Investigation of the causes of the 2010 Presidential Plane Crash at Smolensk.