The last straight of the presidential campaign in Rzeszów. Election silence will apply from midnight on Friday. The candidates announce the latest press conferences summarizing the race. Inhabitants of the capital of Podkarpacie will go to the polls on Sunday.
The campaign lasted over 4 months. It was started by the resignation of the current mayor of the city, Tadeusz Ferenc. The elections were originally scheduled for May 9, but were postponed for more than a month due to the pandemic. If a second round is required, it will be held on June 27.
During the campaign, the candidates announced, inter alia, construction of an aquapark, investments in road infrastructure, creation of green areas, including “pocket parks”, construction of nurseries and kindergartens, special programs for seniors.
Four candidates are competing for the presidency. They are: Ewa Leniart, the voivode of Podkarpacie, supported by PiS and the Rzeszów region of NSZZ “Solidarność”; proposed and consistently supported in the campaign by Ferenc, Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Warchoł; f. Ferenc’s associate, vice-chairman of the city council and head of the Rzeszów development club Konrad Fijołek, supported, inter alia, by by PO, Lewica, PSL and Ruch Polska 2050, as well as Grzegorz Braun, a member of the Confederation.
During the election campaign, the city was visited in large numbers by the leaders of the main political parties, the prime minister, ministers and local government officials from all over the country.
Marcin Warchoł’s campaign
The first presidential candidacy appeared on February 10. Ferenc, who comes from the SLD, who resigned from his position, nominated Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Warchoł as his successor. The former president emphasized “the good cooperation so far”. Later, at joint press conferences, he repeated that Warchoł “is not afraid of challenges and is able to settle all topics”, “looks for topics” and “wants to help the city at all costs”. -That is why I support him and I will support him until the last moment. I believe he will be the mayor of the city, said Ferenc.
The 40-year-old Warchoł was not widely known in the capital of Podkarpacie until he ran for president of Rzeszów. A politician from Nisko, in the 2019 elections to the Sejm, won a seat from the PiS list as a representative of Solidarity Poland. He started from the last place; won almost 28.5 thousand. votes.
After his candidacy was announced by Ferenc, he announced that he would “run as a citizen candidate, independent and independent”. He resigned from membership in Solidarna Polska. – From today my party is Rzeszów – he assured. He was consistently supported in the campaign by Ferenc; his committee is called “KWW Marcin Warchoł Tadeusz Ferenc for Rzeszów”, and the election slogan is “Good continuation”. Warchoł announced the continuation of Ferenc’s policy, including the need to further expand the city or build housing.
In an interview, he said that 95 percent. residents are satisfied with life in Rzeszów, and “88 percent of residents are satisfied with the presidency of Tadeusz Ferenc”. – These are the facts. But even one percent of dissatisfied city residents is a signal that there is still a lot of work ahead of me to improve the quality of life in Rzeszów – Warchoł stressed.
The main points of his program were the construction of an aquapark, uncorking the city by investing in road infrastructure, and allocating an additional PLN 1 million each year to the health service in Rzeszów. He announced the introduction of a pilot program of research on the health of seniors, through, inter alia, special wrist devices. He also talked about the university hospital in Rzeszów and the Children’s Health Center, which will be implemented under the National Reconstruction Plan. Warchoł visited Rzeszów housing estates as part of the “My estate” campaign. There, he talked about investments that he intends to implement, including the construction of nurseries, kindergartens and renovation of local roads.
Ewa Leniart’s campaign
The only woman in the election, the Podkarpackie Voivode, 44-year-old Ewa Leniart, although she is a member of Law and Justice, ran from her own committee “Common House in Rzeszów”. As she explained, she wants to invite many organizations to cooperate with her committee and she does not want the party sign to prevent this from happening. As she said, she intends to strengthen Rzeszów’s position as a driving force for the development of Podkarpacie.
– I have always been connected with Rzeszów. My whole life – high school, studies and professional work – is connected with Rzeszów. I have my friends here. Rzeszów is our common home. I am a person who loves people and likes to cooperate. In my workplaces, I always had to collaborate on the one hand and manage and lead a team of people on the other. I want to use this experience for the benefit of Rzeszów – she emphasized in an interview.
Its program includes three pillars: green order, which includes the construction of the Rzeszów Central Park on the bank of the Vistula River, and more greenery in Rzeszów: pocket parks and vertical gardens. The second pillar of the program is the improvement of broadly understood communication in the city: construction of the southern bypass, viaduct along ul. Wyspiański, an annual public transport ticket for 365 PLN.
The third pillar of the voivode’s program is “a city teeming with life”; these are weekends full of culture, the revitalization of Rzeszów housing estates, the construction of the Podkarpackie Athletics Center or the creation of new promenades in the center of Rzeszów.
Leniart was supported in the campaign by PiS politicians and members of the government. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture, Piotr Gliński, declared a subsidy for PCLA in the amount of PLN 60 million. Also in Rzeszów were Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister, PiS president Jarosław Kaczyński, who declared that “Leniart is the only PiS candidate for president of Rzeszów, is an opportunity for this city.” The voivode was also supported by marshals and members of the boards of seven voivodeships, incl. Małopolskie, Świętokrzyskie, Lubelskie, considering that it would ensure good cooperation on the line of the marshal-mayor of the city and called for a vote for it.
Konrad Fijołek’s campaign
The joint candidate of the opposition – KO, PSL, Left, Poland 2050 – is 44-year-old Konrad Fijołek, former associate of Ferenc, vice-president of the city council and head of the Rzeszów Development club. He has been associated with the Rzeszów local government for nearly 20 years.
Fijołek announced that in the event of a win he would like to “sort out the spatial chaos” in the city. – There must be a study of conditions that will allow to define the rules of development – where low and where high – where we allocate space for greenery, recreation, communication, turn the city towards the river and so on – he said in an interview. The second element of its program is the broadly understood quality of life, i.e. more urban greenery, which is to be closer to every resident.
According to the councilor, it is also necessary to build an aquapark. As he assessed, the city must also provide “a broadly understood cultural, modern offer, created much more strongly by the cultural milieu”. It does not intend to expand the city limits. Expanding borders “is President Ferenc’s success and should remain his success” – he assessed.
In the campaign, Fijołek was supported by the head of the PO Borys Budka, the president of PSL Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, the leader of the Left, Włodzimierz Czarzasty, and Szymon Hołownia. At joint conferences, his candidacy was also supported by the Presidents of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski, Łódź Hanna Zdanowska, Poznań Jacek Jaśkowiak and Białystok Tadeusz Truskolaski, Sopot Jacek Karnowski, Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Wrocław Jacek Sutryk, Lublin Krzysztof Żuk. Trzaskowski assessed that “Sunday elections will be important for the whole of Poland”.
Grzegorz Braun’s campaign
The fourth candidate for the presidency of Rzeszów is a member of the Confederation from the Rzeszów district, 54-year-old Grzegorz Braun. The MP said that Rzeszów had developed demographically and territorially, “but so far it has not consumed the fruits of such a rapid development”. In his opinion, “spatial development is asking for a municipal architect.” – It is demanded by municipal movements, social activists and residents of housing estates. And I would add a municipal engineer to the company of the city architect – said the candidate.
Braun believes that Rzeszów could develop even faster and to a greater benefit for the residents. He emphasized the need to build a city bypass. – For many residents, it will also be important to answer the question of how long Rzeszów will remain probably the only voivodeship city without an aquapark, or how long the local football clubs will struggle with deficiencies in the infrastructure – said the MP.
According to him, the departure of President Ferenc “ended an era”. – It would be a sad paradox if the new era were to preserve what was, he noted. – Only I can propose a new opening – he stressed. He also declared that after winning he would not “raise any taxes or municipal fees by the end of this term”. He also promised to declare the city a “lockdown free” zone after his win. – On the first day of my presidency, Rzeszów will be proclaimed a lockdown-free zone – he said.
The candidate supports the establishment of the 5th Carpathian Division of the Polish Army, whose headquarters should be based in the capital of the region. – The mayor of the city should be an advocate of its creation – he said. Braun was supported by members of the Confederation during several press conferences. They persuaded to vote for him, among others Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Krzysztof Bosak, Artur Dziambor, Robert Winnicki.
Candidates were visible in the streets and neighborhoods of the city. Apart from almost daily press conferences, they organized family picnics and meetings with seniors. All of them secured the support of women’s circles.
The candidates have scheduled the last pre-election press conferences for Friday. Grzegorz Braun organized the meeting at 10 a.m., Marcin Warchoł at 1 p.m., Konrad Fijołek planned the conference at 4 p.m. and Ewa Leniart at 5:30 p.m.
During the campaign, it was not without mistakes and language lapses. PO leader Borys Budka, at a press conference where he supported Fijołek, spoke about Wrocław instead of Rzeszów. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz did the same a day later. In turn, the president of PiS, Jarosław Kaczyński, confused the capital of Podkarpacie with Szczecin.
Next Sunday, apart from Rzeszów, early, repeated and supplementary elections will be held in over a hundred communes in Poland. In recent months, the dates of some of these elections have been postponed after the recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspector due to the persistently unfavorable epidemic situation.
Election silence will apply from Friday to Saturday midnight until the end of voting in the areas where the elections are to be held. Polling stations will be open on Sunday from 7 to 21.
Main photo source: TVN24 Lodz