Vote on ousting Warsaw mayor puts pressure on PM
October 11, 2013
Warsaw residents will decide Sunday whether to recall city mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, in a ballot that could deal a humiliating blow to Prime Minister Donald Tusk's ailing Civic Platform (PO) party if enough voters turn out to make the referendum valid.
The key driving force behind the campaign to recall Gronkiewicz-Waltz, who is a senior member of the governing PO, is Piotr Guział, the mayor of Warsaw’s southern Ursynów district. He said that “the Polish capital is poorly managed, as exemplified by a recent scandal over the cancellation of a tender for garbage collection in the city. As a result, Warsaw is now several months behind schedule in its efforts to meet European Union recommendations on waste management”. Also, a group of city councilors want Gronkiewicz-Waltz out.
Parties that have supported the referendum campaign include main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) and the liberal Palikot's Movement (which recently changed the name to Twoj Ruch).
As many as 166,726 valid signatures were gathered in favor of the referendum being held, surpassing the requirement of 130,000 signatures.
Gronkiewicz-Waltz took over as mayor in December 2006. She then secured reelection in 2010 after winning nearly 54% of the vote in the first round.
Even if Gronkiewicz-Waltz loses a 'no confidence' referendum on Sunday, she is still the preferred candidate to run City Hall in the Polish capital, according to a new poll.
On Sunday polling stations will open at 7 am local time and voters will be faced with a single question: "Should Ms Hanna Beata Gronkiewicz-Waltz be recalled as Mayor of Warsaw before the end of her term in office?"
For the referendum to be valid, three-fifths of the number who turned out for the mayoral elections in 2010 must participate.
As 649 049 voters took part in 2010, then the recall referendum will be valid if 389,430 voters turnout on Sunday.
The referendum is seen as a key test of the popularity of Tusk's governing PO party, which has fallen behind the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) in the opinion polls.