New obudsman appointment ends protracted political battle

A total of 93 senators voted in favour of Wiącek while none opposed his appointment and five abstained. Marcin Obara/PAP

Poland's Senate on Wednesday approved the appointment of Professor Marcin Wiącek to the post of ombudsman at the sixth attempt to fill the position due to party disagreements.

A total of 93 senators voted in favour of Wiącek while none opposed his appointment and five abstained.

Wiącek, a professor at the University of Warsaw and an expert in constitutional law, won cross-party support in the lower house on July 8.

Wednesday's vote in the upper house ends the five-month-long saga over who should be the next ombudsman. All the previous candidates were opposed by the opposition on the grounds that they were too closely associated with the ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.

On April 15, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the current ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, could no longer continue in his position because his five-year term had ended at the beginning of September last year.

In mid-June, Wiącek, who is supported by most opposition parties, was defeated in a vote in the Sejm, Poland’s lower house of parliament, by Lidia Staroń, an independent senator supported by PiS.

After Staroń, who was the Sejm's fifth nominee, lost in the Senate, PiS, in a surprise move, turned to Wiącek in a bid to put an end to the bitter conflict.