Europe

Stabbed Gdansk mayor: Who was Pawel Adamowicz?

Picture taken on May 5, 2016 shows the mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz giving a speech during a commemorative ceremony at the St Petri Dom cathedral in Bremen, northwestern Germany. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Adamowicz succumbed to his injuries after hours fighting for his life

Pawel Adamowicz, the liberal mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, died a day being stabbed on stage while attending a charity event on Sunday.

His wife, Magdalena, is a law professor at the University of Gdansk, and was in London at the time of the attack. She was flown home by the state of Poland. Mr Adamowicz is also survived by his two daughters - Antonina (born 2003) and Teresa (2010).

The mayor was born in Gdansk on 2 November 1965 to parents Teresa and Ryszardf, who moved there in 1946, according to his online autobiography.

Growing up in the city, he became involved in its politics at an early age.

He studied law at the University of Gdansk in the 1980s and helped organise student strikes in 1988 - a year in which nationwide protests swept the then-communist nation.

It would emerge as the modern Polish republic a year later. Mr Adamowicz worked at the university while maintaining his political involvement as Poland became a multiparty democracy.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Adamowicz is pictured collecting for charity hours before the attack

He quickly became involved in city politics, as a councillor in 1990 and then mayor in 1998. At the first popular mayoral vote in 2002, he comfortably won another term - and has held the office ever since.

In November he won a sixth term, which was due to run until 2023.

He was also a former member of the Civic Platform or Platforma Obywatelska, joining the party in its early days in 2002. Mr Adamowicz was a longstanding supporter of the liberal-leaning pro-EU party, which governed Poland for eight years before losing the 2015 election.

The conservative and Eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party won the national elections. Since taking power, tensions between Poland and the European Union have escalated, partly over a controversial judicial reform that the EU has referred to the European Court of Justice.

Mr Adamowicz ran as an independent in the last election, but the Civic Platform eventually endorsed his election campaign in Gdansk, and the mayor remained a critic of the ruling PiS party.

Despite the political friction, all parties were united in condemning the killing of the popular mayor.

"I'm expressing great pain for the tragic death due to the criminal attack on mayor Pawel Adamowicz. We express solidarity with his family," Jaroslaw Kaczynski, president of PiS, tweeted through a spokesperson.

Mr Adamowicz was killed while taking part in an annual charity fundraiser for medical equipment for children and other needy groups.

The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is a major national event - this year's event raised almost 100,000,000 Polish zloty (about $25m; £20m).

Related Topics

More on this story