Local elections in poland: first gay mayor

In northern Poland, a homosexual became mayor for the first time: Robert Biedron. In the second round of elections, the government camp won in six cities.

The new head of the northern Polish city of Slupsk. Picture: ap

Poland has its first gay mayor: in the second round of local elections on Sunday, Robert Biedron was elected head of the city of Slupsk in the north of the country, according to results published Monday. He had already made history in 2011 when he became the first member of parliament to make his homosexuality public. Results for the runoff from all 900 cities and towns were to be released Monday.

Poland has long been characterized by deep Roman Catholic conservatism. The election indicates a growing tolerance for gays and lesbians in the country. In addition to Biedron, more homosexuals than ever before stood for election. However, none of them won a seat. Many of them are young and were running in an election for the first time. In addition, they ran for left-wing parties that did not do so well.

According to voter polls on Sunday, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s Civic Platform had apparently won in Warsaw and five other major cities, including Gdansk, Poznan, Krakow, Katowice and Wroclaw. The local elections are seen as a test for Kopacz and her liberal-conservative party ahead of next year’s parliamentary and presidential elections.

In Warsaw, incumbent Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (PO) won with 58.6 percent, ahead of her opponent from the national conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), Jacek Sasin, who came in at 41.3 percent. This is the third term in office for the law professor.

The second round of local elections was held only in municipalities and cities where no candidate had received more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 16. The first round was highly controversial following computer glitches and the resulting delay in announcing the results.

The national conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party was ahead in the local parliaments, but Civic Platform received more mandates because of the counting procedure used to decide seats. The PiS disputed the validity of the election round.

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