Poland's first transgender lawmaker bid to become a deputy speaker in parliament has been blocked, after a representative she might have replaced refused to resign and lawmakers voted to keep her in place.
Anna Grodzka who was elected in 2011 to become member of Poland’s lower house (Sejm), has been in the spotlight when she became a potential candidate for a deputy speaker post.
Even though the position is now unavailable, the 58-year-old has already had a huge impact on the political scene, becoming perhaps the most prominent symbol of liberal change in a traditionally conservative and largely Catholic country.
Wanda Nowicka was due to vacate her post, after her party leader, Janusz Palikot, of the liberal-left Palikot Movement called for her to stand down after taking a 40,000 zloty (10,000 euro) bonus as a deputy speaker in-breach of party policy.
Polish Members of Parliament (MPs), however, voted to keep Nowicka in her role after Janusz Palikot nominated Grodzka to replace her.
Nowicka was supported by most of MPs from the largest party in parliament, the ruling centre-right Civic Platform, plus junior coalition partner Polish Peasant’s Party (PSL) and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) – effectively blocking Grodzka from taking office.
In response Nowick stated: ‘The decision of the House not to dismiss me from the function of deputy-speaker confirms my deep conviction that there is no substantive reason for me to submit my resignation’.
Janusz Palikot expressed his anger after the move to block Grodzka, saying the vote would not help the already tarnished reputation of politicians in Poland.
Palikot asked: ‘Is someone afraid of Anna Grodzka? Why you do not want to respect the tradition that every [political party] has the right to self-determination?’
There are five deputy speakers in the lower house and each of the main parties nominates one member to the post.
At a time of an economic slump, the large financial bonuses have caused an uproar and public scandal in Poland.
Palikot stated that he plans to dismiss Nowicka from his party.