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President names senior speaker of new parliament

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, announced in a televised address on Monday evening that he has decided to nominate Marek Sawicki as senior speaker of the new Polish parliament.

The senior speaker presides over the first sessions of the new lower house of parliament after a general election until a new speaker is elected by the house.

“I decided to entrust the function of senior speaker to MP Marek Sawicki from the Polish People’s Party, who ran for parliament on the Third Way ticket,” Duda said.

Sawicki represents the Polish People’s Party (PSL), an agrarian group that the incumbent Law and Justice (PiS) party hopes it could win as a coalition partner and thus secure a majority needed to continue into a third parliamentary term. But PSL is one of the opposition parties that have vowed to unseat PiS and form their own coalition government.

“Sawicki has the longest parliamentary experience as he has been an MP for 30 years,” Duda added.

“Since he has been known as a man of dialogue and cooperation, I am convinced that he will perfectly represent MPs from all political groupings on that special day, and that the first debates of the Sejm, lower house of parliament, will go smoothly and in a solemn atmosphere,” Duda said.

Duda also reiterated his earlier decision to convene the first session of the new parliament on Monday, November 13.

“I must admit that I have been surprised by the proposal made by President Andrzej Duda,” Sawicki wrote on Facebook later on Monday.

“I am extremely pleased,” he said, adding that he had accepted the function with gratitude for the president’s trust, and with satisfaction.

“I will act in accordance with the Constitution and the statutes of the Sejm,” he concluded.

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