Presidential race: primaries and celebrities

The largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO) will hold primaries to select its presidential candidate. Meanwhile a TV celebrity prepares to enter the race as an independent.

The Civic Platform (PO) has decided on a system of regional conventions to select the candidate for the Presidential election. Candidates have to register until November 19. Several regional conventions will take place before a final national one which will make the ultimate selection on December 14.

The decision comes just three days after Donald Tusk announced that he would not be running for President. The favourite possible nominee is Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, the PO’s PM designate candidate in the Parliamentary elections. However, Radosław Sikorski (former FM) , Rafał Trzaskowski (Warsaw mayor) and Bartosz Arłukowicz MEP are reported as considering to throw their hats into the ring.

The primaries will be closed to members of the PO and will not include representatives of other parties, neither the Polish People’s Party (PSL) with whom the PO sits in the European Parliament (EP) nor Modern and the Green Party who are allied with the PO in the Civic Coalition (KO). The final decision will be taken by 1300 delegates at the national convention on December 14.

The PO also decided on Friday that it will hold an election for the leader of the party. All members of the party will be eligible to vote in that election and the final result will be announced on January 25.

Other parties ready for the off

The PSL leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz has already announced that he is willing to run for President for his party. But his idea of holding open primaries with the participation of both parties, the PO and the PSL has been rejected.

The Left Alliance will be taking a decision on its candidate soon. Robert Biedroń has already announced that he is willing to stand.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) will be supporting the incumbent, President Andrzej Duda. He is already touring the country doing meetings in provincial towns.

Dark horse?

“Political Insight” reports that Szymon Hołownia, a TV presenter of a talent show and commentator for the Catholic weekly “Tygodnik Powszechny” prepares to run as an independent. He is already building an organization of volunteers and plans to concentrate on environmental issues and civil rights.

Mr Hołownia’s attempt maybe reminiscent of the surprisingly successful independent run by rock musician Paweł Kukiz who polled 21 percent in the 2015 election. It led to setting up of a movement (called Kukiz’15) which managed to get elected to Parliament just a few months later.

However, Mr Hołownia may wish to emulate the success of Vlodymir Zhelensky, the TV celebrity who won by a landslide in the Ukrainian Presidential election and whose movement eventually won the Parliamentary elections. That may set the bar rather high in a politically stable, economically successful and peaceful country such as Poland.