Poland has made history by electing the country’s first openly gay mayor.
Voters in the Eastern European country, which is 90% Roman Catholic, showed their support behind LGBTI campaigner Robert Biedron.
The 38-year-old, a member of maverick MP Janusz Palikot’s ultra-liberal ‘Your Movement’, won the mayoral elections in Slupsk, northern Poland, today (1 December).
He secured 57% of the vote, beating the ruling Civic Playform candidate Zbigniew Zonwinski.
‘I will lead a very modest [local government], as this town is modest, as well as being one of the most debt-ridden in Poland,’ Biedron told PAP news agency.
‘The three limousines which are available to the mayor will no longer be mine, as I go everywhere by bicycle.’
Biedron is perhaps best known for when he ran as a MP and won the Gdynia-Slupsk constituency. He also set up the charity Campaign Against Homophobia.
The elections saw a small wave of liberalism fighting to be heard, with the elections for regional parliaments and municipal government seeing a record number of openly gay candidates in the race.
With none of the others won seats, Biedron’s success is being hailed as an inspiration.
The 38-year-old managed to muster 57.08 percent of the ballot (15,308 votes), beating the ruling Civic Platform’s candidate Zbigniew Konwinski, who received 42.92 percent (11,511 votes).
In the first round of voting on 16 November, Biedron managed to garner 20.34 percent, coming second to Civic Platform’s Konwinski (29.09), but beating Law and Justice’s candidate Robert Kujawski (18.65 percent).
The result turned heads as previous polls predicted that Konwinski and Kujawski would go head-to-head in the second round.
Robert Biedron is a graduate of political and social science from the University of Warmia and Mazuria in Olsztyn, and is better known for setting up and running the Campaign Against Homophobia.
In 2011 he became an MP from the Gdynia-Slupsk constituency, winning almost 17,000 votes.
Speaking to the PAP news agency following his victory, Biedron said that “I will lead a very modest [local government], as this town is modest, as well as being one of the most debt-ridden in Poland.”
“The three limousines which are available to the mayor will no longer be mine, as I go everywhere by bicycle,” Biedron underlined, adding that he is also to move to the town. (jb)
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