Member of Parliament Grzegorz Braun (C), of the right wing Confederation party, after extinguishing the Hanukkah candles with a fire extinguisher at the Polish parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, 12 December 2023. The Hanukkah menorah was lit to mark the start of the Jewish Hanukkah holiday and symbolize the victory of light over darkness. EPA-EFE/MARCIN OBARA

News Vote 24

Polish MP who extinguished Hanukkah menorah elected to European Parliament


A Polish MP who recently doused a Hanukkah menorah in the Polish Parliament with a fire extinguisher has been elected to the European Parliament.

Grzegorz Braun, of the hard-right Confederation party, drew international criticism following the stunt, with many condemning the act as antisemitic.

The politician only played into the scandal during his EP election campaign, with Braun said to have taken part in mass rallies at which children lined up to have their own fire extinguishers signed by the politician.

He also took down a Ukrainian flag from a landmark in Kraków to protest the alleged “Ukrainisation of Poland”.

Braun, who is controversial even within the Confederation party, is a declared monarchist who campaigned against restrictions during the Covid pandemic. He is hostile to the European Union and also suspicious of US motives and NATO’s presence in Poland.

Other new EP additions include three former ministers from Prime Minister Donal Tusk’s Civic Coalition party (KO).

Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz (culture), Borys Budka (state assets) and Marcin Kierwiński (interior), all left their stations within the pro-EU politician’s cabinet to take up seats in Brussels

Elsewhere, three of the new Law and Justice (PiS) party MEPs, Daniel Obajtek, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik are facing possible indictments at the hands of the Tusk government as legal conflict between the two parties continues.

One sitting MEP who will have been especially pleased by the election results was the Left’s Robert Biedroń. He saw his partner Krzysztof Śmiszek elected as MEP in the Southwest of Poland, while Biedroń held his seat in Warsaw.

Among prominent names that lost their EP seats on June 9 are PiS stalwart Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, his party colleague, former foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, as well as former Polish PMs from the Left party Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Marek Belka.

There are also a few notable retirees who did not stand. They include former president of the European Parliament and former Polish prime minister Jerzy Buzek (KO), former European commissioner Danuta Huebner (KO), senior PiS MEP Prof. Ryszard Legutko and former prime minister Leszek Miller from the Left.

Miller is particularly well known for negotiating Poland’s European Union accession before 2004.