On Tuesday, the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, appointed the independent senator Lidia Staroń as Poland’s Ombudsman (RPO). In order for her to be able to take office, the Senate also has to give its consent.
The parliament members, unlike in previous voting on the election of the Ombudsman in this term of the Sejm, voted jointly on both nominated candidates, and not in alphabetical order.
A total of 231 MPs supported the candidacy of Staroń, and 222 MPs supported her opponent, Marcin Wiącek. The required majority was 228 votes. Senator Staroń was nominated by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, while Marcin Wiącek was nominated as a joint candidate by the the Civic Coalition (KO), Polish People’s Party (PSL), the Left (Lewica) clubs, Poland 2050 and Polish Affairs caucuses as well as some of the non-attached MPs. A number of members of the Agreement party, one of the parties of the ruling United Right, also supported his candidacy. The election of the RPO is necessary because in September last year the five-year term of office of the incumbent one, Adam Bodnar, expired. Parliament has already tried to choose Mr Bodnar’s successor four times, unsuccessfully. The RPO is appointed by the Sejm with the consent of the Senate at the request of the Speaker of the Sejm or a group of 35 MPs. If the Senate refuses to consent to the appointment of the Ombudsman, the Sejm shall appoint another person for this position.