Robert Biedroń

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Robert Biedroń

Robert Biedroń na XVI Krakowskiej Manifie - 20200308 1345 0769.jpg
Leader of Spring
Assumed office
3 February 2019
Preceded byoffice established
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
1 July 2019
Mayor of Słupsk
In office
6 December 2014 – 21 November 2018
Preceded byMaciej Kobyliński
Succeeded byKrystyna Danilecka-Wojewódzka
Member of the Sejm
In office
9 October 2011 – 6 December 2014
Personal details
Born (1976-04-13) 13 April 1976 (age 44)
Rymanów, Poland
Political partySpring (2019–present)
Other political
affiliations
Your Movement (2011–2019)
Democratic Left Alliance (1998–2005)
Domestic partnerKrzysztof Śmiszek (2002–present)
Alma materUniversity of Warmia
Websitewww.robertbiedron.pl

Robert Biedroń (Polish pronunciation: [ˈrɔbɛrt ˈbjedrɔɲ]; born 13 April 1976) is a Polish politician, former mayor of Słupsk, and LGBT activist.

He was a member of the Sejm during its 7th session (2011-2014). He's also a former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. He was mayor of Słupsk from 2014 to 2018.

He launched a new political party called Spring in February 2019,[1] and was elected a Member of the European Parliament on his party's list on 26 May 2019.[2] He is one of the three leaders of The Left (Lewica), a political alliance founded to contest the 2019 parliamentary election composed of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Spring and the Left Together (Lewica Razem).

He was a candidate for president in 2020 election.

Background[edit]

Robert Biedroń was born on 13 April 1976 in Rymanów, in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. He grew up in Krosno.

Biedroń completed his secondary education in Ustrzyki Dolne. He received a bachelor in political science at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (2000). He received a master's degree in the same field in 2003. He also is a graduate of the School of Political and Social Leaders and the School of Human Rights at the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation.

He speaks English, French, Russian, Esperanto and Italian.

Activism[edit]

Robert Biedroń has co-operated with Polish and international LGBT rights organizations for many years. Following his studies, he travelled to London and joined the British NGO OutRage!.

He participated in the first Gay Pride ever organized in Poland on 1 May 2001. In September 2001, he co-founded the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia (Kampania Przeciw Homofobii).

His commitment to LGBT rights has been recognized several times: he received, for instance, the “Rainbow Laurels” in 2003 and was named “Rainbow Man” in 2004.

Faithful to Your Movement’s values, to social liberalism, secularism and a Europhile vision of the EU; he advocates for a separation of church and state in practice and not just in words, for the removal of catechism classes from public schools, he supports feminism (notably the right to abortion for all women), same-sex marriages in Poland, free access to contraception and sexual education.[3]

He founded the Institute for Democratic Thought (Instytut Myśli Demokratycznej), a progressive think-tank which conducted a program entitled Scenarios for Poland. The Institute analysed the possible evolutions of the country in the next 20 years and formulated policy recommendations. Robert Biedroń has also built the Progressive Cities’ network – a platform of cities’ cooperation and good practice exchange aimed at supporting local, progressive politics based on participatory democracy, transparency and an open local community.

He's a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 2012 to 2015[4]. During his term as a member of the Sejm, he is vice-president of the parliamentary committee for Justice and Human Rights and member of the Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee.

He belonged to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe from 2015 to 2018. Besides this, he is a member of the Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection created by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Robert Biedroń is the author of several books, notably a handbook on the functioning of a democracy for children Turn Democracy On (Włącz Demokrację), his autobiography Against the current (Pod prąd) and a book entitled New Chapter (Nowy rozdział) which contains his political reflections, published a few months before the launch of his political party.

Political career[edit]

Robert Biedroń in the Sejm, 2014

Early political career (2005–2014)[edit]

In 2005, Biedroń was an unsuccessful Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) candidate for the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament. In the October 2011 parliamentary elections, Biedroń was elected to the Sejm as a candidate of Palikot Movement, receiving 16,919 votes in the Gdynia district.[5] He was the first openly gay member of the Sejm.[6] He has been a victim of homophobic aggression, having been attacked physically several times since his election.[7]

He runs in the mayoral elections in Słupsk in 2014, a city of around 95 000 inhabitants located in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. He secured 57% of the vote in the second round. He thus became the first openly gay mayor ever in Poland.[5][7]

Mayor of Słupsk (2014–2018)[edit]

Once elected Mayor Słupsk, Robert Biedroń pursued an austerity policy. Indeed, the city was heavily indebted, with a total debt of 300 million zlotys, when he took up office. He decided for instance to waive his official car, he requested to the City Council to lower his wage and he closed several local agencies. In 2017, the total debt of Słupsk decreased to 232 million zlotys.

During his term, he carried out a pro-ecological, egalitarian policy with some elements of participatory democracy. The city realized the thermo-modernisation of public buildings. The mayor initiated the « Red Couch » - a red couch was placed in public areas to talk with the constituents[8]. He has also created some consultative bodies, such as the Sustainable Development Council, the Women's Council and the Seniors’ Council. He refused to host a circus with wild animals and opened a new animal shelter in Słupsk.

He didn't run again in the mayoral elections in 2018, but he supported his deputy mayor Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewódzka.

Leadership of Spring (2019–present)[edit]

Robert Biedroń during the Spring party election convention, 2019

On 4 September 2018, Biedroń launched what he termed a "pro-democratic" political movement aimed at challenging the ruling Law and Justice party. He then launched the “Brainstormings with Biedroń”[9], a series of events aimed at discussing about the future of Poland. Each “Brainstorming” was conducted by Biedroń and attracted hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people.

In December, he announced the first goals of his yet unnamed party: shutting down all coal mines in Poland by 2035, improving the health care system and ending state subsidies to the church.[citation needed]

In February 2019, Biedroń founded a new political party called Spring (Polish: Wiosna), He intends to build an alternative to the conservative Law and Justice vs. liberal Civic Platform political duopoly. Spring won 6,1% of the votes in the European elections and Robert Biedroń was elected a Member of the European Parliament on his party's list on 26 May 2019.[2]

Before the parliamentary election in October 2019, he co-founded The Left (Lewica), a political alliance composed of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Spring and the Left Together (Lewica Razem). He is one of The Left's three leaders. In January 2020 Robert Biedron was chosen by this alliance as the candidate or the left for the 2020 présidential election[10]. The election was planned for May 10, 2020, but was postponed.

Member of European Parliament (2019–present)[edit]

Once elected to the European Parliament, he has since been serving on the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. He's chairing the Delegation for relations with Belarus[11]. He belongs to the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

2020 Presidential Election[edit]

In January 2020, his candidacy received the support of the Democratic Left Alliance[12], Left Together[13] and Spring[14], which jointly issued him in the presidential election in the same year. He was also supported by the Polish Socialist Party[15].

Personal life[edit]

Biedroń's life partner is Krzysztof Śmiszek, member of the Sejm, doctor of law, activist in the Campaign Against Homophobia and board chairman of the Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law.[16]

He identifies as an atheist.[17]

In popular culture[edit]

Biedroń is the subject of a documentary by Paul Szynol called Biedroń: Unfinished.[18] The film was cut as a short because Biedroń backed out of the project for fear that it would hurt him politically.

Awards[edit]

Biedroń received the French National Order of Merit on 20 July 2016.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wiosna - partia Roberta Biedronia. 'Czas na nowy rozdział - wspólnie zmienimy Polskę!'" [Spring - Robert Biedroń's party. "Time for a new chapter - we will change Poland together!"]. Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 3 February 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Eurowybory 2019: Kto dostał się do Parlamentu Europejskiego?" [European elections 2019: Who got into the European Parliament?]. www.gazetaprawna.pl (in Polish). 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  3. ^ "European Parliament: Debate on sexual education in Poland". TVN24.pl. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Congress Database - Council of Europe". www.congressdatabase.coe.int. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b Morgan, Joe (1 December 2014). "Poland makes history by electing its first openly gay mayor". Gay Star News. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Poland elects first openly gay MP". Radio Poland. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Hebel, Christina (1 December 2014). "Revolution in Polens Provinz: Schwuler erobert Rathaus von Slupsk" [Revolution in Poland's provinces: Gay man captures Slupsk City Hall]. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  8. ^ Easton, Adam (28 May 2018). "The gay mayor shaking up politics in Catholic Poland". Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  9. ^ "A new pro-democracy movement is brain-storming in Poland, led by gay mayor Robert Biedron". THE ALTERNATIVE UK. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  10. ^ https://www.komitid.fr/2020/01/08/robert-biedron-gay-candidat-presidentielle-pologne/
  11. ^ "Home | Robert BIEDROŃ | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  12. ^ https://sld.org.pl/aktualnosci/5065-sld-popiera-robert-biedronia-w-wyborach-prezydenckich
  13. ^ http://partiarazem.pl/2020/01/razem-z-robertem/
  14. ^ https://wiadomosci.wp.pl/wybory-prezydenckie-2020-robert-biedron-z-rekomendacja-wiosny-6466606423897729a
  15. ^ https://natemat.pl/298279,robert-biedron-kandydtuje-lewicy-na-prezydenta-kto-go-popiera-pps
  16. ^ "Polskie Towarzystwo Prawa Antydyskryminacyjnego - Misja PTPA/ PSAL's Mission". www.ptpa.org.pl. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Biedroń: jestem ateistą, ale krzyż jest dla mnie ważny" [Biedron: I am an atheist, but the cross is important to me]. Wprost (in Polish). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Biedroń: Unfinished". VOD.PL. Retrieved 27 November 2019.

External links[edit]