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POLAND: Trzaskowski Sworn in as Warsaw President

On 22 November, Rafał Trzaskowski was sworn in as President of Warsaw, replacing 3-term term Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. A new cabinet of Trzaskowski’s City Hall was announced on Friday.

Paweł Rabiej (Deputy President) – as promised to PO’s coalition partner Modern, the party’s co-founder will be Trzaskowski’s deputy. He will be responsible for contacts with NGOs and will deal with social policy, health matters and reprivatisation.

Renata Kaznowska (Deputy President) – she will continue serving in office after 2 years under Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Kaznowska is experienced in Warsaw local government affairs – previously in charge of the Palace of Culture and Science, as well as the Board of Public Areas. She will oversee matters regarding education, sports and housing policy.

Michał Olszewski (Deputy President) – has over 11 years of experience in the city’s government. He first served as a specialist for EU funds, and was later appointed Deputy Mayor by Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. He will supervise architecture, spatial planning, EU funds and waste management.

Robert Soszyński (Deputy President) – he is the former Mayor of Warsaw’s Mokotów district and Deputy Speaker of the Masovian Regional Assembly. He will be responsible for communication, transport and roads, as well as city and state property in Warsaw.

Mirosław Czekaj (Treasurer) – he was appointed Warsaw’s Treasurer by Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and successfully managed city funds throughout the 2008 economic crisis. The Treasurer supervises accounting, budget planning, taxes and debt matters.

Marcin Wojdat (City Secretary) – Wojdat, appointed by Gronkiewicz-Waltz was the city’s secretary for the past 5 years. He will be responsible for public procurement, administration, security and digitisation of the city’s administration.

Justyna Glusman (Coordinator) – Glusman ran for Mayor in the recent elections, as a candidate of the Miasto Jest Nasze activist group.  She will oversee environmental issues, especially the issue of combatting smog.

Aldona Machnowska-Góra (Coordinator) – she is a social activist and culture animator. Since 2016 she was the Deputy Director of the Studio Theatre. In the City hall she will oversee matters regarding social communication and culture.

On Monday, Trzaskowski also presented 12 priorities of his first year in office. These include:

  • Free nurseries
  • Higher remuneration for teachers and school employees, as well as funding for extracurricular classes
  • New infrastructure for disabled persons
  • Additional shifts in hospitals and clinics, as well as vaccination programmes for HPV
  • Construction of housing – 300 flats in 2019 and 600 in 2020
  • Support for sports clubs and improvement of sports infrastructure for children
  • Improvement of public transport – plans to build a 3-subway line
  • More green areas in Warsaw – 500 new trees
  • Combatting smog – city financial support for new household heaters
  • Improvement of road infrastructure and new average speed cameras to provide more road safety
  • Providing new facilities for cultural purposes
  • Institutional support for persons affected by domestic violence, the creation of the office of City Plenipotentiary for Women.

Rafał Trzaskowski, in his first days in Office, is trying to relate to all issues, which appeared throughout the local elections campaign. Furthermore, the areas he prioritised, as well as personnel decisions, are an indicator that he will attempt to engage with social and city activists, which played a significant role in shaping the campaign and are increasingly significant for the younger electorate. Trzaskowski’s priorities are ambitious and his early performance will be important to the Civic Platform for the upcoming campaigns. Still, while his decision to maintain key figures in certain offices may allow for a smoother transition from Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s term, it gives PiS the chance to criticize Trzaskowski for being the continuation of the office involved in the reprivatisation scandal.