Marcin Wiącek elected Poland’s new Ombudsman

Professor Marcin Wiącek will become the new Ombudsman, as the Senate, the Polish upper house, voted for his appointment for a 5-year term. He will take up the position after becoming sworn in.

In the voting that took place on Wednesday, 93 senators backed his candidacy. Nobody was against it, while five senators abstained.

Mr Wiącek's candidacy was submitted jointly by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) caucus and opposition clubs: PSL-Koalicja Polska, UED, Conservatives and Lewica, as well as Poland 2050 and Polish Affairs. The Sejm (lower house) elected him as the new Ombudsman in early July.

During his speech in the Senate, Mr Wiącek stressed that he did not and never belonged to any political party. As his priorities he mentioned the clarification and the development of the Ombudsman's activities and competencies in the field of supporting people “with a justified sense of exclusion, resulting, for example, from disability, helplessness, a crisis of homelessness, and personal beliefs.”

The new Ombudsman stressed he would continue the efforts “aimed at introducing Poland to the group of tolerant and conscious societies with the highest legal culture".

“At the same time, I strongly advise against the use of values such ​​as the effectiveness of covering Polish citizens with legal protection mechanisms resulting from international law, including the treaties constituting the EU, as part of a political dispute. From the beginning of my scientific activity I have presented and I still support the view of the primacy of our constitution over all international agreements,” Mr Wiącek pointed out.

The Ombudsman is appointed by the Sejm with the consent of the Senate. The right to nominate candidates rests with the Sejm Speaker and a group of at least 35 deputies.

Marcin Wiącek will replace Adam Bodnar, whose statutory term of office as the Ombudsman expired in September last year, but had remained in office until last Thursday.

As the ruling coalition and the opposition could not have reached an agreement on the joint candidate, the earlier five attempts to select a new Ombudsman after Adam Bodnar’s expiry of tenure were unsuccessful.

Born in 1982, Marcin Wiącek is a professor at the University of Warsaw, habilitated doctor of legal sciences and head of the Human Rights Department at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw. His field of expertise includes constitutional law and human rights.