Ruling party to table in June bill to push back local elections
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party will table a bill to parliament a postponing the autumn 2023 local elections to avoid them overlapping with parliamentary elections scheduled for the same time, a PiS secretary general has said.
On Friday, the head of the PiS caucus, Ryszard Terlecki, told the polskatimes.pl website that legislation concerning the postponement of local elections was ready and would soon head to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, probably as a bill proposed by a group of MPs.
According to the legislation, the local elections would be postponed from autumn 2023 to spring 2024. Terlecki said he did not expect the bill to cause any controversy among parliamentary groups.
On Tuesday, Krzysztof Sobolewski, the PIS secretary general, told PAP that the bill "will be submitted... to the Sejm in June" and confirmed that it would be a draft authored by deputies.
He said that one of the reasons for delaying the local elections is the position of the country's election body, the PKW, "which ruled out that local and parliamentary elections could be held at the same time" for logistical reasons.
But, on Monday, Minister Andrzej Dera from the President's Office said that an overlapping of the local and parliamentary elections was not a sufficient reason to postpone the former.
"I know President Andrzej Duda's approach to the issue... he believes that they (both elections- PAP) should be held on constitutional dates, unless there are special circumstances," said Dera.
Sobolewski added that the authors of the bill would present their arguments to Duda and hope "they will be taken into consideration."
But later on Tuesday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the PiS leader, said that "at the moment, there is no final decision on how to solve the problem related to the timing of parliamentary and local elections."
However, he added, the holding of both elections at the same time "is undoubtedly a problem," but it is "a technical, not a political problem."
"This is something that should be thought of very seriously, but if someone thinks that there is a decision here at the moment, they are wrong," Kaczynski said.
Poland held its most recent local elections in the autumn of 2018 and the next vote is scheduled for the autumn of 2023 as local officials are elected for a five-year term, unlike MPs, whose term is one year shorter.
The previous parliamentary elections were held in the autumn of 2019.