Duda signs law extending local gov't office term to avoid vote overlap

The last local elections were held in 2018. Jakub Kamiński/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed into law a bill extending the term of office of local governments by several months to avoid an election clash next autumn.

Under the legislation authored by the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), the term of office of local authorities, which expires in 2023, will be extended to April 30, 2024, which paves the way for putting back local elections and separating them from the general elections to be held in the autumn 2023.

In late September, the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, passed the bill which was subsequently rejected by the Senate at the end of October. In early November, the Sejm voted against the Senate's resolution to scrap the entire bill, therefore the provisions extending the term of office of local governments were sent to the president.

Local and national elections in Poland used to be held every four years, but with a one-year difference between them. According to this model, the last parliamentary elections were held in 2019 and the last local elections in 2018.

But in 2018, PiS MPs passed an amendment that extended the term of office of local governments from four to five years, which led to the 2023 election overlap.

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