Only 117 newly elected MPs are debutants, i.e. people who have never sat in the lower house of parliament. There will be the smallest number of such deputies in the 10th term of office of the Sejm since 2007. Meanwhile, 25 MPs will return to this chamber after a break of several years. In total, there will be fewer new MPs than estimated by the Chancellery of the Sejm.
When the budget of the Chancellery of the Sejm for 2023 was planned in the fall of 2022, the project included PLN 30 million for expenses related to the change of term, which also involves the payment of severance pay to those MPs who lose their seats after the elections. At the meeting of the Sejm Committee on Rules, Deputies’ Affairs and Immunities, which October 26, 2022 was considering the draft budget of the Chancellery of the Sejm, MP of the Civic Coalition, Tomasz Głogowski, asked representatives of the Sejm Chancellery about “the number of parliamentarians who will be replaced between the 9th and 10th term of office of the Sejm”. The head of the Chancellery of the Sejm, Agnieszka Kaczmarska, replied: “It can be said that we have averaged the number of deputies and we have planned for 230 new ones.”
After the elections that took place on October 15, 2023, we already know that these estimates were significantly overestimated. New MPs should be considered those who are making their debut in the Sejm and those who were already MPs but had a break (i.e. did not sit in the Sejm of the 9th term). Data obtained by Konkret24 from the Sejm Information Center show that there will be a total of 142 such deputies. The composition of the lower house in the tenth term will be the least “refreshed” in 16 years.
How many people were elected to the Sejm for the first time
Among the members of the 10th term of the Sejm will be: 117 people, who have never sat in this chamber – constitute 25 percent. composition. They were selected from the following lists:
Civic Coalition – 44 debutants for 157 elected MPs (28%); Third Way – 35 debutants out of 65 elected MPs (54%); Law and Justice – 23 debutants for 194 elected MPs (12%); Confederation – 11 debutants for 18 elected MPs (61%); New Left – 4 debutants for 26 elected MPs (15%).
The parliamentary novices will be party leaders: Szymon Hołownia from Poland 2050, Sławomir Mentzen from Konfederacja, the head of Agrounia Michał Kołodziejczak elected from the KO list. There are also local political activists: the mayor of Sopot Jacek Karnowski (started from the KO list), Sosnowiec councilor Łukasz Litewka from the New Left (he won almost twice as many votes as co-chairman of the New Left Włodzimierz Czarzasty), vice-mayor of Kętrzyn Maciej Wróbel (entered the Sejm from the last place Olsztyn KO list) or Dariusz Matecki – councilor of Sovereign Poland in Szczecin.
There are also figures known for their public activities, e.g.: Marcin Józefaciuk – a teacher and TV presenter from Łódź, selected from the KO list; Aleksandra K. Wiśniewska (KO) – until now known for her humanitarian activities; Joanna Wicha – a nurse by profession, elected from the lists of the New Left, who has been involved in social, trade union and health care issues for years. Among those making their debut in the Sejm from the KO lists, we also have ski jumping coach and sports activist Apoloniusz Tajner; Bogusław Wołoszański, a journalist and popularizer of history. Another former journalist is Michał Kobosko, a candidate from the Third Way.
Politicians of the ruling coalition such as Paweł Szrot – former minister in the president’s office and Janusz Cieszyński – current minister of digitization make their debut as MPs. Robert Dowhan from KO is a debutant in the Sejm – but not in Wiejska Street. After three terms, he will exchange his senatorial mandate for a parliamentary one. After one term, the Senate will be replaced by Marcin Bosacki.
SEE THE FULL LIST OF DEBUTANT MPS: These MPs will sit in the Sejm for the first time
The largest number of debutants in relation to the number of elected MPs from this party was introduced by Confederation – 61%. Also a high percentage of debutants – 54%. – among Third Way MPs may result from the fact that its lists included activists of Szymon Hołownia’s Poland 2050, one of the newer political forces.
Among KO MPs, those making their debut in the Sejm constitute 28%. – this is a similar percentage to previous years: in 2015 it was 23 percent, and in 2019 – 24 percent.
The opposite tendency can be seen in the case of PiS: in the new term of the Sejm, this party has only 12 percent. debuting MPs, while in 2015 it was 46% and in 2019 – 23%.
Four years ago, as much as 75 percent deputies who entered the Sejm from the Left lists sat in the lower house for the first time. After this year’s elections, debutants constitute only 15 percent. members of this party, which may be related to the generally poor result of the New Left in these elections.
The more debutants in the Sejm, the better? Not necessarily
After this year’s elections, there will be the fewest debutant MPs in the Polish Sejm since 2007. Back then, there were 158 such deputies. Four years later – 137. Since the elections in 2015, when as many as 203 debutants sat in the Sejm, this number has been decreasing from election to election.
At the beginning of the 8th term of office of the Sejm (2015-2019), debutants constituted 44%. composition of the chamber, four years later (2019-2023) – 31%. (142), and currently only 25 percent.
– I would not fetishize the assumption that the more debutants in the Sejm and politics, the better – says Dr. Hab. in an interview with Konkret24. Olgierd Annusewicz, political scientist from the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw. – On the contrary: work in the Sejm is legislative work, it is the ability to understand the law and law-making techniques. Therefore, the parliamentary “breakthrough” is something positive, he believes. In his opinion, the number of debutants in the Sejm does not mean that we have stabilized political elites, but is rather related to the proportions in the division of Sejm seats and their number won by the winning party. – 25 percent of debutants in the Sejm is really a lot – says Dr. Annusewicz.
Who returns to the Sejm after the break
The Sejm Information Center reports that in the next term there will be 318 MPs who defended their seats. Adding 117 debutants, we have 435 MPs – and the rest 25 seats were won by people who are returning to the Sejm, i.e. they were once MPs.
Among them, of course, is Donald Tusk, who returns to the Sejm benches nine years after resigning from office in 2014. There is also attorney Roman Giertych, elected from the KO list, returning to the Sejm after 16 years of absence. After a stay in Brussels as an MEP and a four-year internship in the Senate, Bogdan Zdrojewski, also elected from the KO list, returns to the Sejm. Krzysztof Brejza returns from the Senate to the Sejm after four years. The group of returnees also includes Tadeusz Samborski, elected from the Third Way list, a PSL activist who lost his parliamentary seat in the 2005 elections. Samborski, 78, is one of the oldest members of the 10th term of office, from among whom the president appoints the senior speaker of the Sejm (conducts the Sejm proceedings until the speaker of the chamber is elected).
Dorota Arciszewska-Mielewczyk, elected from the PiS list, also returns to the Sejm – she lost her parliamentary seat in the 2019 elections (she was elected president of Polish Ocean Lines). From the PiS list, after a four-year break, Kukiz’15 member Marek Jakubiak got to Wiejska. After two terms outside the Sejm, Przemysław Wipler, elected from the Confederation list, returns.
Main photo source: Marcin Obara/PAP