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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » January 4, 2018
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Battle of Warsaw
January 4, 2018   
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Next year's local elections will be the first time since 2015 when the ruling Law and Justice party will go head-to head with the opposition. Close tabs will be kept on the capital, where the opposition came together and will be represented by a common candidate for the city's mayor.

In November, Grzegorz Schetyna and Ryszard Petru, leaders of the Civic Platform and Nowoczesna announced that Rafał Trzaskowski, a Civic Platform deputy will be Civic Platform's and Nowoczesna's joint candidate for the mayor of Warsaw, and Paweł Rabiej, member of the board at Nowoczesna will be the candidate for the capital's deputy mayor.

"We are certain, that (...) a common candidate in Warsaw represents a new quality and is the answer to the expectations of not only the residents, but all those who believe that a united opposition can stop Law and Justice ", said Schetyna. "We want a broad, open and civic coalition, and that is what we are going to build, added Civic Platform's leader.

Schetyna criticised the local government electoral ordnance changes proposed by Law and Justice. He said that the broad coalition which they are intent on building is a "guarantee that all those independent members of local government, who have the backing of the residents, but who stand to lose out as a result of the poorly thought- out ordinance have our backing. This is the start of a new phase” he said.

"Today we are putting words into actions", said Petru. "We want the city of Warsaw to be ours. To win, we decided to go with the best candidates", he added.

"I am happy that the opposition's unification begins in Warsaw. Our supporters expect us to work together for the benefit of this city", said Trzaskowski.

"The campaign lasts for a year, and as such we will draft the programme together with experts and consult with residents. It will be ready in a couple of months", said Trzaskowski.

"Warsaw is a city of success; it is a city which poses a challenge for us. Everyone at Civic Platform will get behind Rafał Trzaskowski and will work for its success", said Schetyna.

"Warsaw cannot fall into the hands of Law and Justice. Warsaw needs a change. As a resident of Warsaw, I want the same as all other people who live here. Warsaw needs someone young, a fresh approach", said Trzaskowski.

"Nowoczesna, in agreeing to Civic Platform's terms and abandoning their candidate for mayor, showed that the opposition is governed by Schetyna, and Petru is just a pawn – he will shout his head off but in the end, agree to everything", commented Beata Mazurek, the Law and Justice spokeswoman. In her opinion, in actual fact Petru and Rabiej cast their votes for Gronkiewicz-Waltz and refused to take part in an attempt to change Warsaw. "Nowoczesna's politicians opted to continue on the course set by Gronkiewicz-Waltz in the capital", added Mazurek. "Schetyna and Trzaskowski are pretending that nothing happened in the capital in the context of the re-privatisation scandal and the part played by Civic Platform's Vice President", argued the Law and Justice spokeswoman.

"Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the mayor of Warsaw should have reacted immediately once information about the re-privatisation scandal appeared in the press; the capital's mayor trusted too many people", commented Trzaskowski.

At the same time Trzaskowski admitted that "it was a sin to ignore signals which were appearing". In his opinion, the mayor of Warsaw should have reacted immediately once information about the re-privatisation irregularities were reported by the press.

According to pre-election polls, the Civic Platform and Nowoczesna candidate for Warsaw will secure 34 percent of the vote. He will be joined on the podium by Patryk Jaki (Law and Justice) with 18 percent and Ryszard Kalisz (Democratic Left Alliance) with 9 percent.

Rafał Trzaskowski (born 17 January 1972 in Warsaw) – political scientist, European affairs specialist.
Member of the 7th legislative term of the European Parliament. In 2013–2014 Minister of Administration and Digitalisation, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2014–2015, deputy for the 8th term of the Sejm.

Graduate of the College of Europe in Natolin as well as the International Relations Faculty at the University of Warsaw. Recipient of a grant awarded by Oxford University (1996) and the Parisian European Union Institute for Security Studies (2002). In 2004 he was conferred as a Doctor of Political Sciences by UW's Faculty of Journalism and Political Sciences, dissertation title: Institutional reform dynamics in the European Union.

After 1995 he worked as a simultaneous interpreter and an English teacher. In 2000–2001 he was an advisor to Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, European Integration Committee secretary. In 1998 he began lecturing at the National School of Public Administration and in 2002 at Collegium Civitas. As part of his professional engagements he worked on the theory of European integration and international relations. Since 2002 he has also been working at the Natolin European Centre.

In the period of 2004–2009 he was an advisor to the delegation and Civic Platform in the European Parliament. In 2009, representing that political party in the Warsaw District, he was elected as MEP for the 7th term, securing 25,178 votes. During the EP's 7th term, he joined the European People's Party.

On 20th November 2013, the then Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced his nomination for the position of Minister of Administration and Digitalisation. He held that post until 22 September 2014. Two days later he was appointed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in the rank of a European Affairs Secretary of State.

In 2015 he was part of the parliamentary electoral campaign, as the number one on Civic Platform's electoral register for the Kraków district. He secured 47,080 votes and was elected as deputy for the 8th term of the Sejm. In 2016 he joined the ranks of Civic Platform's national board. In November of the same year he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Civic Platform's shadow cabinet. On 29 March 2017 he became Vice-President of the European People's Party.
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