Sylwester Wrzesiński signing the third amendment, 2020
|9th President of West Miersa|
|Assumed office |
3 October, 2016
|Preceded by||Gerard Wojdyla|
|Member for Podgórzyca Centralna|
3 October, 2011 – 3 October, 2016
|Preceded by||constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Nadiya Chumachenko|
|Member for Podgórzyca|
3 October, 1996 – 3 October, 2011
|Preceded by||Leonid Kozachenko|
|Succeeded by||constituency abolished|
Sylwester Leoncjusz Wrzesiński
18 June 1949
Podgórzyca, Dolne Pogórze, West Miersa
|Alma mater||Podgórzyca University|
Sylwester Leoncjusz Wrzesiński (b. 18 June, 1949) is a West Miersan politician and lawyer, who since 2016 has served as the ninth President of West Miersa, and as the leader of Naprzód since 2013. Prior to this, Wrzesiński served as Justice Minister from 2006 to 2011 under Oskar Palubicki's government, and served as a member of the National Assembly from 1996 until his election to the presidency in 2016.
Born in 1941 in the city of Podgórzyca to voivode Radosław Wrzesiński, Sylwester Wrzesiński had a privileged childhood. After studying at Podgórzyca University from 1966 to 1973, he became a practicing lawyer, specialising in administrative law. He would serve as lawyer until 1986, when newly-elected member of the National Assembly for Podgórzyca, Leonid Kozachenko, representing Naprzód, hired him to work at his office in Podgórzyca.
Following a sex scandal in 1995 that led to Kozachenko's expulsion from the party, the local Naprzód association selected Sylwester Wrzesiński to succeed Kozachenko, and he was able to be elected to the National Assembly. In 2006, he became a cabinet minister, serving as Justice Minister until 2011, when Gerard Wojdyla became Minister-President. Wrzesiński suceeded Palubicki as parliamentary leader, serving in this role until 2013, when following the constitutional crisis, and resignation of the incumbent President, Tomisław Sobolewski, he became acting leader of Naprzód.
In 2014, Wrzesiński became the leader of Naprzód, while the position of parliamentary leader went to his protege, Adrian Rozak. In the 2016 general election, he ran for the presidency against Gerard Wojdyla, and after a vicious campaign, where Wrzesiński ran on a nationalistic platform, Wrzesiński was elected the ninth President of the Miersan Sotirian Republic, defeating Gerard Wojdyla.
Since his election, West Miersa has experienced significant democratic backsliding, with Wrzesiński tightening the control of the Presidency over the National Assembly and the other branches of government, including the voivodeships. However, he has continued to have strong ties to Samorspi, and has developed closer ties to Etruria.
Sylwester Wrzesiński was born in the city of Podgórzyca to Radosław Wrzesiński, who was the incumbent voivode of the voivodeship of Dolne Pogórze, and Olesya Wrzesiński, who was a daughter of Soravians who were part of the civil service under Soravian rule, as the youngest of three sons.
Due to his father's status, Sylwester attended the best schools in the voivodeship, and by 1966, he began attending Podgórzyca University, where he graduated with a specialist degree in law in 1973. After passing his exams, he became a practicing lawyer in 1974, serving at a local law firm. During this period, Wrzesiński specialized in administrative law, where he gained an "appetite" for politics, as he felt that the "extensive government" intervention made many "potential businesses" illegal, and set back West Miersa's development vis-a-vis the east.
With the outbreak of the Miersan War, Wrzesiński attempted to enlist in the Miersan National Armed Forces, but was denied, as he was "medically unfit" to fight. It is unclear how he got the exception, with political opponents, notably Gerard Wojdyla, accusing him of having bribed to get an exemption, while supporters claimed that Wrzesiński was "obese enough" to get the exception.
In 1985, he joined Naprzód, finding its values at the time as being "aligned with the needs of the Miersan nation," and as he felt it was the only way West Miersa may be able to "redeem itself."
In the 1986 general election, Sylwester Wrzesiński campaigned on behalf of Naprzód candidate Leonid Kozachenko, against the incumbent Miersan National candidate Mieczysław Siminski, for the constituency of Podgórzyca. Due to the growing sentiment against the governing Miersan National Party, who had governed West Miersa since its independence from Soravia in 1936, as they were perceived to have lost the war, it was predicted that Kozachenko would win the seat.
Following Kozachenko's victory against Siminski, Wrzesiński was hired by Leonid Kozachenko to work for him at the local office in Podgórzyca: thus, Wrzesiński quit his job as a lawyer in order to work "full time" within the local Naprzód association. During this period, Wrzesiński and Kozachenko developed a close working partnership, with Wrzesiński often receiving information from the National Assembly. This gave Wrzesiński further insight in the day-to-day practices.
In 1991, Wrzesiński campaigned for Kozachenko's re-election against Miersan National nominee Witołd Romanoski. Due to the simmering resentment against the Miersan National Party remaining, Sylwester Wrzesiński later described the 1991 campaign as being "rather boring, and frankly, it felt like we were beating a dead horse." Kozachenko won re-election handily.
However, by 1995, a scandal erupted around Leonid Kozachenko, when one of Wrzesiński's colleagues accused Kozachenko of making sexual overtures to him. This led to the Naprzód leadership expelling Kozachenko from their caucus, and for Kozachenko to announce that he would not run for re-election. Thus, a search for a nominee for the upcoming general election began.
Ultimately, Wrzesiński was selected, due to his experience working under Leonid Kozachenko, in addition to Wrzesiński's ties to Podgórzyca.
Member of the National Assembly
In 1996, Sylwester Wrzesiński was running as the Naprzód candidate for the constituency of Podgórzyca, against Miersan National candidate Ignacy Lubomirski. Unlike the 1991 elections, it was predicted to be a close race, as the scandal around Leonid Kozachenko had caused many voters in Podgórzyca to consider voting for the Miersan Nationals.
Thus, Wrzesiński waged a ferocious campaign, seeking to outflank Lubomirski on the right. To this end, Sylwester Wrzesiński accused Lubomirski of seeking to legalise "unrestricted abortion," "sodomy," and to "destroy all the progress the Miersan Sotirian Republic has made since 1986." While Lubomirski attempted to counteract with Wrzesiński's "tolerance of sodomy," Wrzesiński firmly denounced Kozachenko for his "sins." This garnered Wrzesiński extensive support from the social conservatives, and although his margin of victory was narrow, Wrzesiński won the 1996 elections.
On 3 October, 1996, he officially succeeded Leonid Kozachenko as the Member of the National Assembly for Podgórzyca, and became the second member of the National Assembly from Podgórzyca to serve as a member of Naprzód.
During his first term in office, Wrzesiński focused on representing the interests of his constituency, and being a supporter of the increased devolution of powers to the voivodeships, as well as supporting economic liberalisation under Damian Jackowiak's administration. His record as a legislator meant that in 2001, he was able to defeat Miersan National candidate Piotr Wiercioch with 60% of the vote to Wiercioch's 35% of the vote.
In his second term, Wrzesiński expressed "hesitation" about the government's plans for detente with East Miersa, fearing that it would "undermine the viability of Naprzód as an electoral force," and lead to the resurgence of the Miersan Nationals as a "governing party." However, Wrzesiński continued to express support of devolution and economic liberalization. As well, Wrzesiński sought to build up his position within the internal structure of Naprzód.
In 2006, he faced against Miersan National candidate Yakiv Dovhan. During the election campaign, Wrzesiński campaigned on his record in the National Assembly, and accused Dovhan of "not knowing the reality of today's Miersa." This approach contributed to Wrzesiński's victory in that election.
Following his re-election in 2006, Sylwester Wrzesiński was appointed to the cabinet of Minister-President Oskar Palubicki, in the portfolio of the Ministry of Justice of the Miersan Sotirian Republic.
As Justice Minister, Sylwester Wrzesiński demonstrated a "rather authoritarian" streak, even as Tomisław Sobolewski sought to further liberalize the West Miersan government. He sought to institute tough on crime policies, to apply the broken windows theory to policing in the country, and to embrace ethnic profiling, with Wrzesiński saying in 2007 that "most of the criminals that threaten our nation are travellers and Górale, and they must be treated the way they deserve to be treated."
However, Sylwester Wrzesiński's policies were believed to help continue the trend of crime reduction, although it is speculated that Wrzesiński was benefitting from the policies of his predecessor, Izajasz Wisniewski, in addition to general crime reduction globally. This perception of Wrzesiński's policies reducing crime helped benefit Wrzesiński's career and his standing within Naprzód, as the public greatly supported Wrzesiński's policies.
Thus, as the 2011 election neared, it was expected that should Naprzód win, Sylwester Wrzesiński would continue serving as Justice Minister, due to his positive record as Justice Minister in the eyes of the public.
In the 2011 election, as it was the first election following the 2007 census, the constituency of Podgórzyca was divided into Podgórzyca Centralna and Podgórzyca Peryferyjna. As Wrzesiński lived in the former, he was to stand in Podgórzyca Centralna, against Miersan National candidate Tayisiya Solovjova.
In his campaign against Tayisiya Solovjova, Sylwester Wrzesiński promoted his tough-on-crime agenda, and pointed to his record as member of the National Assembly for the constituency of Podgórzyca. He also accused Solovjova of having "no experience with politics," and of a lack of familiarity with the city of Podgórzyca. This helped him win the seat of Podgórzyca Centralna, winning with 60% of the vote to Solovjova's 30%.
Despite Naprzód's victory in the 2011 presidential election and popular vote, Naprzód lost control of the government to the Miersan National Party. In response, Minister-President Oskar Palubicki, who had lost his seat to his challenger, resigned as parliamentary leader.
This led to a leadership race between Sylwester Wrzesiński and Dariusz Budziszewski, who was the Finance Minister. While Budziszewski had been in the lead for much of the race, Sylwester Wrzesiński promoted his humble origins, and vowed to represent the "ordinary man" as opposed to the "elites in Krada and Żobrodź," to the point of using the northwestern dialect in his speeches. This, combined with his record during his time as Justice Minister, allowed Wrzesiński to become the parliamentary leader in 2012.
The following year, a constitutional crisis broke out between President Tomisław Sobolewski and Minister-President Gerard Wojdyla, due to deadlock between the executive branch, which was controlled by Naprzód, and the legislative branch, controlled by the Miersan National Party. With Sobolewski attempting to dismiss Wojdyla, and Wojdyla refusing to resign, Soravia officially backed Gerard Wojdyla. This led to the resignation of Sobolewski, the appointment of Gerard Wojdyla as Acting President, and to Sylwester Wrzesiński becoming the acting leader of the entire party.
Sylwester Wrzesiński refused to recognizse the appointment of Gerard Wojdyla's cousin, Aleksandra Wojdyla, as Minister-President, decrying the situation as a "Soravian-backed coup d'etat." This refusal won him the support of many social conservatives, who opposed a woman becoming Minister-President of the Miersan Sotirian Republic.
In 2014, Wrzesiński was officially confirmed as being the official leader of Naprzód, while the position of parliamentary leader went to Adrian Rozak, one of Wrzesiński's proteges, suggesting that Wrzesiński would be making a bid to run for the presidency in 2016. During this period, Wrzesiński positioned himself as the "government of the majority," and accused the Miersan Nationals of centralizing power in the presidency.
This helped increase Naprzód's supports among the population, and by the time of the 2016 general election, he officially announced his intention to run for the Presidency against Gerard Wojdyla. For his constituency, he endorsed Naprzód nominee Nadiya Chumachenko.
At the start of the 2016 general election campaign, Sylwester Wrzesiński was not expected to win, due to the support of the Miersan National Party by many pro-Soravian figures. In response, Wrzesiński waged a "nationalist" campaign, by portraying Gerard Wojdyla's tenure as President as being "authoritarian and damaging to the national economy," and by calling the coup a "Soravian-backed coup." Wojdyla's character was also attacked, with Wrzesiński claiming that "by seizing power against the will of the people, no matter the cost," it was proof that "Miersa must never again elect a Wojdyla." He contrasted it with Naprzód's plans, which he said would "restore confidence in Miersa," and "restore our democratic values."
This strategy ultimately paid off for Naprzód, with Wrzesiński winning with 57.2% of the vote. Meanwhile, Naprzód retook control of the National Assembly, securing 129 of the 230 total seats.
On 3 October, 2016, Sylwester Wrzesiński was sworn in as the ninth President of the Miersan Sotirian Republic, succeeding acting President Gerard Wojdyla. That day, he appointed his cabinet, naming Adrian Rozak the Minister-President.
Almost immediately upon his election, Wrzesiński began reversing the reforms made by Gerard Wojdyla and Tomisław Sobolewski, in an effort to prevent "another coup d'etat" like what occurred in June 2013. To this end, he kept the Minister-President at "an arm's length," and began asserting central control over the voivodeships.
However, to assuage fears that Wrzesiński would reorient West Miersa away from Soravia and Samorspi, Wrzesiński reaffirmed his committment to Samorspi, with Wrzesiński saying in early 2017 that the interests of the Miersan Sotirian Republic "lie in Samorspi and Soravia, not in the Euclean Community and Gaullica." At the same time, he began cultivating deeper ties with Etruria and the Tribune Movement, particularly as both Etruria and West Miersa were engaging in democratic backsliding under the administrations of Carcatera and Wrzesiński respectively.
By 2018, West Miersa had become "the most authoritarian since Maksymilian Trzeciak," as many political and civil freedoms had been curtailed under Wrzesiński's presidency, with incidences of official censorship increasing, in addition to central interference in the affairs of the voivodeships. While economic freedoms were not affected, Wrzesiński's government did not expand economic freedoms either. Wrzesiński criticised the assessment, saying that "had Gerard Wojdyla won in 2016, we would be more oppressed than we were before 1986." However, by this point, it is believed that Naprzód had effectively consolidated its control over West Miersan politics.
In August 2020, Wrzesiński's government proposed a new amendment to the West Miersan constitution, which would establish an executive presidency, transfer virtually all powers from the voivodeships to the central government, and expand the number of appointed seats from 92 to 169 seats. Following outcry from the public, and seeking cross-party support for the amendment, Wrzesiński allowed the establishment of ten seats for Miersans living abroad, so that they may be represented in the National Assembly.
Such a move has been met with criticism from both civil society groups and from human rights organisations, with journalist Justyna Skarzynska from Codzienny saying that the amendment would "cripple Miersan democracy." However, Wrzesiński defended the amendment, saying that it would "ensure the preservation of majority rule and of Miersan democracy."
Despite the criticisms, the amendment went into effect on 22 October, 2020, although sections of it will only come into force in the following election, allowing Adrian Rozak to continue serving as Minister-President until the 2021 election, and to only elect the overseas seats in the aforementioned election.
On 7 January, 2021, Sylwester Wrzesiński announced at the annual Nativity speech from the President that he would not be running for a second term, making him the second incumbent President of West Miersa to not run for a second term, after Iwon Wojdyla, saying that "it is time that Miersa is led by a new generation, one that is young, energetic, and willing to face the challenges that tomorrow has to throw at us." He explained that he would serve out the rest of the term "so that we can have a smooth and peaceful transition to the incoming administration, and so Naprzód has enough time to select the best persons for the jobs of President and Vice-President."
Sylwester Wrzesiński first met the 18-year old Teresa Osiecka at Podgórzyca University in 1968. After a long period of dating, they married in 1975, and together have two children: Kanimir Wrzesiński, who was born in 1976, and Żaneta Lorenc, who was born in 1978. They have remained married since then, with both Teresa and Sylwester describing their marriage as being a happy marriage.
Sylwester Wrzesiński has four grandchildren: three from Kanimir Wrzesiński (a granddaughter, Eleonora Wrzesińska, who was born in 2002, and two grandsons: Anzelm Wrzesiński, who was born in 2004, and Walentyn Wrzesiński, who was born in 2006), and a grandson from Żaneta Lorenc (Julian Lorenc, who was born in 1999). He is also a great-grandfather, with his grandson, Julian Lorenc giving birth to a daughter in 2020, Franciszka Lorenc.
Sylwester Wrzesiński's native language is the northwestern dialect of Miersan, frequently using his dialect in order to appear "less influenced by the elites" in Krada and Żobrodź during electoral campaigns. However, due to the education system, he is also fluent in standard Miersan, and uses them in his "day-to-day" work.
However, due to exposure from his mother, the surrounding community, and from the education system at the time, Wrzesiński is also fluent in Soravian, with Wrzesiński frequently using Soravian while travelling abroad. It is believed that due to this, he also speaks a Miersan-Soravian surzhyk, although Wrzesiński has consistently denied using surzhyk, and has called it "a degenerate form of both the Soravian and Miersan languages."
Wrzesiński can also comfortably carry a basic conversation in Gaullican, although Wrzesiński has admitted that he is not "very fluent" in Gaullican, as it was "not as important to [West Miersa] as Soravian, and certainly wasn't to me when I was a kid."
Economically, Sylwester Wrzesiński supported neoliberal economic policies, and wanted to open up the markets. However, as President of West Miersa, he has kept the mixed economy, with Wrzesiński expressing "no intentions" to engage in further privatizations. Although he continues to describe himself as being a neoliberal, economist Henryk Helinski from the University of Krada said in 2019 that "it is almost unlikely that Wrzesiński is genuinely a neoliberal."
Socially, Wrzesiński describes himself as being a social conservative, believing that "Sotirianity should and must continue to play a role in Miersan society." To this end, he has consistently opposed same-sex marriage and liberalisation of laws relating to abortion. As well, Wrzesiński has urged Miersans to "protect and preserve Miersan culture from foreign influence."
Politically, he once advocated for decentralization of government, and for the voivodeships to exercise their "traditional powers," and was critical of central intervention in the affairs of the voivodeships However, as President, he recentralized the West Miersan voivodeships, with "more incidences of central intervention in the voivodeships in 2017 alone, than the entirety of the 2006-2016 decade." He is a staunch supporter of Miersan membership in Samorspi.
Sylwester Wrzesiński was baptized as a member of the Miersan Episemialist Church, and continues to remain a devout member, attending "almost" every Sunday service, and living in accordance with the church's principles.
- - Commander of the Order of the White Eagle, 2016