The Senate did not agree on Friday to appoint an independent senator, Lidia Staroń, to the office of the Ombudsman (RPO). 45 senators voted for her candidacy, 51 were against and 3 abstained. This means that the new RPO has not been elected for the fifth time.
On Tuesday, the Lower House (Sejm) of the Parliament voted in favour of appointing Lidia Staroń as the new Ombudsman. Her candidacy was submitted by the Law and Justice (PiS), the ruling coalition senior party. Staroń’s counter-candidate was the lawyer Professor Marcin Wiącek, nominated by the majority of opposition parties and with the support of the Agreement, the ruling coalition junior party.
The Senate did not consent to Staroń becoming the Ombudsman. 45 senators voted for her candidacy, 51 were against and 3 abstained.
The election of the Ombudsman is necessary because Adam Bodnar’s 5-year term ended in September last year. Pursuant to the Act on the Ombudsman, despite the end of his term of office, he continued to hold the office until the appointment of a successor by the parliament. However, on April 15, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the provision of the law that allowed it was unconstitutional. It will cease to apply in mid-July.
Parliament has tried to choose Bodnar’s successor five times without success. Twice the only candidate was attorney Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz, who was a joint candidate of the opposition Civic Coalition, the Left and Szymon Hołownia’s Poland 2050. However, she did not receive the support of the Sejm. The third time the Sejm voted in favour of the PiS candidate, deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, but the Senate did not consent to this candidacy. It was a similar story for the fourth time when the Senate did not agree for the office of the Ombudsman to be taken over by Bartłomiej Wróblewski, a PiS MP appointed by the Sejm.