On the October 13th Polish Parliamentary Elections and Their Human Rights Implications

Lecture | October 31 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Graduate Theological Union, Dinner Board Room

 Wanda Nowicka, Polish politician and activist

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture

Wanda Hanna Nowicka is a Polish politician and activist who served as the Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland from 8 November 2011 to 11 November 2015. In the very recent, October 13, 2019 parliamentary elections, she was voted to be an MP representing in leftist party Lewica.

Born in Lublin, she attended the University of Warsaw, graduating with a degree in classical philology, and worked as a teacher of Latin and English from 1985 to 1993. In 1990, Nowicka co-founded Neutrum, the Association for State Neutrality, an organization focused on the separation of church and state in Polish politics. She was also a co-founder in 1992 and first executive director of the Federation for Women and Family Planning, an NGO that combined Neutrum and four other organizations in advocating for reproductive rights and women’s and children’s healthcare. In 2003, Nowicka invited Women on Waves to Poland; their ship, the Langenort, arrived for two days to provide abortions for those in the first trimester of pregnancy; this move caused some protest from the League of Polish Families.

Politically, Nowicka has allied herself with various parties, but has remained unaffiliated outside of briefly joining the Solidarity movement in 1980 and 1981. She ran for political office unsuccessfully several times in the 2000s while allied with the Democratic Left Alliance, however she was elected to the Masovian Regional Assembly. In 2011, she allied herself with Palikot's Movement, and after the party won two seats in the Sejm in the 2011 elections out of Warsaw, she won the second seat alongside Palikot. She was named Deputy Marshal of the Sejm on 8 November 2011, and in February 2013 was removed from Palikot's Movement, finishing the rest of her term as an independent member of the Sejm.

In 2015, instead of running again for the Sejm, Nowicka planned to run for President. She received formal support from the Polish Left and the Social Democracy of Poland, but was only able to get 91,000 out of 100,000 required signatures. She had also run in the 2014 European Parliament election out of Warsaw. She finished second in the district with 7,479 votes, however the coalition she joined failed to gain any seats in the elections.

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