Szymon Hołownia elected as the new Speaker of the Sejm. The joint candidate of the Civic Coalition, Third Way and the New Left received 265 votes. The new marshal announced many changes regarding the Sejm. – First of all, we will rearrange these two letters and the most important word here will be “patria”, not “party” – said Hołownia.
On Monday, the Sejm resumed the inaugural session of the new term. During the break, candidates for the Speaker of the Lower House were announced. The candidate of the Civic Coalition, Third Way and New Left – the groups that signed the coalition agreement and have 248 seats in the Sejm, was the leader of Poland 2050 Szymon Hołowniawho is to hold this function until November 13, 2025. In the second half of the Sejm term, the Speaker of the Lower House, in accordance with the coalition agreement, is to be Włodzimierz Czarzasty (New Left).
In the vote, Hołownia received 265 votes of support and was elected Speaker of the Sejm.
Hołownia: the “freezer” will come out with a bang and the unsightly barriers will disappear
– It would not be possible to start this speech differently than President Andrzej Duda did. To thank those 21,966,891 voters who decided on the future of Poland in such a clear way on October 15. They gave us, 460 MPs, the strongest mandate in the history of free Poland to represent them in this chamber. It’s a great honor, it’s a powerful obligation, it’s proof that Poles really are a very mature society. Since this Parliament was born out of such an unprecedented social uprising, we have a very clear task for these four years. Prove every day that our compatriots did not make a mistake when they stood in long lines in front of the polling stations on October 15. Don’t disappoint our children who are watching us now and those who stood before us in the generational relay, where I stand now – said the new marshal.
Hołownia recalled that he came from outside politics and does not know “all her tricks”, but he knows “her heart, which is sometimes too often forgotten.” – Politics is not violence. Politics is caring. This room is not an octagon from an MMA gala. It is a house of meetings and conversation. With this huge turnout, Poles told us very clearly: enough of what has happened, not only the party has to change, but politics has to change, he said.
The new marshal announced many changes regarding the Sejm. – First of all, we will rearrange these two letters and the most important word here will be “patria”, not “party”. A freezer will roar out of the marshal’s office. The unsightly police barriers will disappear from the Sejm, because enough of these barriers have been placed between us – he enumerated.
“The Sejm will not be an asylum for criminals”
– The Sejm of the Republic of Poland will never again be a government service point. He won’t be anyone’s voting machine. I would like to reassure Members that you will no longer have to pretend that you have a formal motion, because you will be able to speak normally. I will propose to the presidium that at the beginning of each session of the Sejm we can have a series of questions from the heads of parliamentary clubs and groups, to the government and to ministers. So as to facilitate this communication and not violate the dignity of this chamber, he suggested.
– In the coming days, I will invite journalists with the oldest experience in the Sejm to help me reopen the Sejm wisely for them. We will restore press breakfasts with the Speaker and regular briefings at which media representatives will be able to find out what is happening in this chamber. I want to try to reach out to those who still have little faith in democracy, said Hołownia.
– The Sejm will not be an asylum for criminals. The Sejm will not be a field for corruption. The Sejm will never again be a tribune for contempt, he stressed.
Hołownia also turned to President Andrzej Duda. – Mr. President, after this vote, no one can doubt that there is a majority in this Sejm ready to take responsibility for the country. However, I also know that you elected me as the Speaker of the Sejm, not part of the chamber. There are groups with whose views I deeply disagree, but they are here at the will of Polish women and men. So I assure you that the Sejm will not be another arena of a devastating Polish-Polish war, he declared.
“Welcome different Poles to the Sejm”
Hołownia pledged that in the new term of office of the Sejm “all MPs, whether from the ruling coalition or the opposition, will from now on be bound by the same standards again, and the role of the Speaker will be to ensure the principles of fair play.” – You entrusted me with work today, the role of guardian of dignity and order in this chamber – he noted.
– Out of respect for those 21 million Poles who did not stand in lines at night so that we would now waste their precious time on another show. I assume I’m not the only one in this room who would like to believe that. I have already passed the stage of the show and the stage of passionate journalism – he noted.
– Dear MPs, welcome different Poles to the Sejm – concluded Hołownia.
Kosiniak-Kamysz: parliamentarism is the art of using words
Hołownia’s candidacy was presented by the chairman of the Polish People’s Party, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. – I will present this candidacy based on the qualities that, according to the applicants, the Speaker of the Sejm should have, and in my opinion, these are the qualities of Mr. Hołownia’s candidate – said the head of the PSL.
– This word is key to parliamentarism. Respect for the word, a word that gives hope, a word that gives courage, a word that strengthens. And the same word, often said in an inappropriate way, or a bad word that destroys, that hurts. Parliamentarism is the art of using words. Our candidate Szymon Hołownia has mastered the art of using words to perfection – said Kosiniak-Kamysz.
The leader of the People’s Party recalled that Hołownia is the author of numerous books, a journalist and publicist, recognized twice with the Grand Press award. According to Kosiniak-Kamysz, Hołownia is a person who “used words in an extraordinary way and took responsibility for these words.” – The Marshal of the Sejm speaking on behalf of the high chamber must be extremely responsible for his words. To be erudite and give hope in the words he says – said Kosiniak-Kamysz.
– Empathy, social sensitivity, social hearing. All of us, as we sit here, are elected by the people, by our citizens. Contact with them is one of the basic parliamentary duties. Social listening is one of the features that a parliamentarian, especially the first one among us, must have. Social listening that hears those who have it most difficult, those who often cannot break through, those who are oppressed, sometimes humiliated, those who need great support. This social listening later gives a sense of responsibility and prudence in the decisions made. Without social hearing, without contact with society, one is detached from reality, and this has ended very badly in the history of Polish parliamentarism, including the recent one, said the chairman of the PSL.
Kosiniak-Kamysz mentioned courage as the third feature that the Speaker of the Sejm should have. – Courage without which there is no victory, courage without which there is no change, courage without which Poland cannot be transferred from the land of dreams to reality. This courage was present in Szymon Hołownia at a special moment when he decided to come from a rather well-ordered life, a beautifully developing career, one could say, very safe in his human opinion, to the world of politics. And he faced voter verification – argued Kosiniak-Kamysz.
Błaszczak: Elżbieta Witek has always represented our chamber with dignity
Candidate of the parliamentary club Law and Justice was Elżbieta Witek. Her candidacy was presented by Mariusz Błaszczak.
– Mrs. Elżbieta Witek is a long-time member of parliament, she has been a member of parliament since 2005, for the fifth term. She was a member of the Rules Committee for Deputies’ Affairs and Immunities, the Deputies’ Ethics Committee, the Education, Science and Youth Committee and the Politics and Family Committee, said Błaszczak.
The former Minister of National Defense recalled that Witek became a member of NSZZ Solidarność in 1980. – With great commitment and typical energy, she joined trade union activities, and after the introduction of martial law, opposition activities. For her anti-communist activities, she was arrested and imprisoned in 1982. Those who experienced communist repression know what cruel methods the services used to break down oppositionists. Elżbieta Witek never gave up. For her steadfast attitude, she was awarded the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity, he recalled.
– She also continued to serve society, taking many actions for the benefit of the region’s inhabitants. In the years 2015-2017, she was a minister, member of the Council of Ministers, head of the Political Cabinet, Prime Minister, and government spokesperson. From June 2019, she held the office of Minister of Interior and Administration, and then the office of Marshal of the Sejm of the 8th and 9th terms. Elżbieta Witek was the longest-serving Speaker of the Sejm in the Third Polish Republic – he enumerated.
According to Błaszczak, Witek “has always represented our chamber with dignity not only in the country, but also on the international forum.” – She is the initiator of a new format of cooperation between women presidents of parliaments European Union countrieswhich enjoys great recognition and which has dealt with many important issues, such as modern trafficking in human beings, especially women, or the abduction of children from war-torn Ukraine and organizing help for women, victims war in Ukraine – he said.
– The period of serving as Speaker of the Sejm coincided with the pandemic. Thanks to excellent cooperation with the Chancellery of the Sejm and its employees, the Marshal managed to organize the work of the Sejm remotely in a short time. We were the first parliament in Europe to work in this mode. Then came the war in Ukraine and the resulting economic and economic crises. The Sejm, like the government, had to make quick decisions and act in unusual circumstances. Time was of the essence here. The point was to ensure the safety of our citizens and quick help for entrepreneurs, argued Błaszczak.
– Diligence, extensive life and professional experience, parliamentary achievements and organizational skills, as well as high personal culture, tact, balanced opinions and excellent relationships with people prove that MP Elżbieta Witek is the right candidate for the position of Speaker of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland – concluded the PiS politician .
Elżbieta Witek was supported by 193 MPs. At least 15 MPs may nominate a candidate for Speaker of the Sejm. An MP can support only one candidacy. The Sejm elects the Marshal by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies.
Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka