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‘Sejmflix’: Poland’s new speaker transforms parliament into a viral phenomenon

03.01.2024 12:30
In an unexpected twist, Poland's legislative process has become the country's latest viral sensation, thanks to the new Speaker of the Sejm, Poland's lower house of parliament.
Sejm Speaker Szymon Hołownia.
Sejm Speaker Szymon Hołownia.Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

But ‘Sejmflix’ is not just a catchy term - it represents a paradigm shift in how politics is consumed and engaged with in Poland.

With over 650,000 subscribers on the Sejm’s YouTube channel, the country is witnessing an unprecedented level of public engagement in its political discourse, the Financial Times has reported.

The phenomenon is largely credited to Szymon Hołownia, the charismatic new Speaker and leader of the centrist Poland 2050 party. Known for his previous stint as the host of Poland's version of the Got Talent show, Hołownia’s flair for the dramatic has reinvigorated parliamentary debates, turning them into must-watch events, according to the Financial Times.

Hołownia's approach has drawn comparisons to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, another television personality-turned-politician. This new style of governance, blending politics with showmanship, has resonated with the public, especially younger generations.

Hołownia himself has boldly claimed the Sejm to be "the most popular parliament in the world," with the live screening of the legislative endorsement of Donald Tusk’s return to premiership amassing an astonishing 4.2 million views on YouTube, according to FT.

Despite criticism from previous government figures like former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who argues that “politics is not a show,” Hołownia’s strategy appears to be paying off - not only has it heightened the Sejm’s profile, but it has also significantly boosted his own political standing, FT reported.

Hołownia, who prepares for a potential presidential bid in 2025, is now considered the most trusted politician in Poland, surpassing both Tusk and President Andrzej Duda.

As Poland braces for a period of significant legislative changes, with Tusk’s coalition planning to overturn many of PiS’s policies, the role of the Sejm under Hołownia’s leadership becomes increasingly important.

Meanwhile, the world watches to see if this fusion of politics and entertainment is the future of democratic engagement.


Source: Financial Times