The last-minute candidate in the Presidential primary election the party is organising turns out to be Jacek Jaśkowiak, the Mayor of Poznań. Mr Jaśkowiak announced his candidacy in a social media post on Wednesday evening.
Mr Jaśkowiak has been Mayor of Poznań since 2014. He and his wife are active critics of the current government. The mayor is regarded as being on the left of the Civic Platform (PO).
But like Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski and Łódz Mayor Hanna Zdanowska he had until last weekend ruled out standing. Other potential candidates who have declined to stand were Donald Tusk, Radek Sikorski and the Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki.
It is no secret that the party leader Grzegorz Schetyna had been working hard to persuade people to stand. Without a candidate to take on the front-runner Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska the primaries would have had to have been called off. And the party had built the primaries into a strategy of promoting the candidate who is finally chosen.
Earlier in the day it had been reported that a candidate had submitted an envelope with a nomination, but the party would not say who it was. Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska who is attending the European People’s Party Conference in Zagreb was surprised at the turn of events. She found it strange that someone should submit an envelope with their nomination papers before publicly declaring that they were standing.
The primaries will be held in regional conventions. The process is to be completed at a national convention that will take place on 14 December in Warsaw where over a thousand delegates will make the final choice of Presidential candidate to take on the incumbent Law and Justice (PiS) backed Andrzej Duda.
It did not take long to find the mystery candidate. But then it is curious that it took several hours for him to identify himself.
The party will now have its primary election. Maybe the way journalists spent today trying to discover the identity of the candidate was a novel way of promoting that candidate and the primary process itself?
On a more serious note Jacek Jaśkowiak is a left of centre mayor who came to the PO from the city movement. He was never really a part of the party’s apparatus, but he has established a strong position in the city he leads.
But it is Ms Kidawa-Błońska who remains the favourite. She is now a politician established at national level having been a minister and Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament. She was also the PO’s PM designate in the last Parliamentary election. It would be a major surprise for Mr Jaśkowiak to best her anywhere outside of the Poznań area.