Zack Polanski

Members of the Green Party of England and Wales have elected Zack Polanski as their new deputy leader. Polanski currently sits on the London Assembly, and becomes only the fifth person to hold the deputy leadership post since it was created in 2008. He takes over from Amelia Womack who held the post for eight years.

Following his election, Polanski said, “I am thrilled to have been elected deputy leader of the Green Party, because I know that it is only the Greens that have the solutions to the seemingly never-ending crises that successive governments have led us to.

“That is why it is so important that the Greens have to break through and win more MPs. It is time for a shift in the political landscape, to a politics that recognises the answers to the climate crisis are the same answers that will reduce inequality and ensure fairness for all.

“I am so grateful to all the members that have voted at this incredibly important time, and I can’t wait to start working more closely than ever with our co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay to bring the electoral success we deserve.”

Polanski saw off three rivals in the deputy leadership contest. Also standing were Tyrone Scott, Shahrar Ali and Nick Humberstone. Scott came second in the election.

Polanski secured 42 per cent of first preference votes from members, to Scott’s 28 per cent. In third place, Ali took 24 per cent of first preferences. Humberstone came last with 6 per cent.

After two more rounds of counting in which the second and third preferences of those who voted for Humberstone and Ali were reallocated, Polanski emerged victorious on 51 per cent.

Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the Green Party, congratulated Polanski on being elected deputy leader of the party. He said, “At a time when people are increasingly concerned about how they are going to pay the bills, and as we see the impacts of climate breakdown all around us, it’s clear we need more strong Green voices to make the case for a Green and just transition.

“I know that Zack will offer that distinctive, bold Green vision as deputy leader and that is so crucial for us to continue our electoral success and deliver the practical alternatives that release people from dependence on fossil fuels. Insulating people’s homes and installing renewable energy systems. A clean, reliable public transport system. Producing our food in less intensive, more nature-friendly ways.

Outgoing deputy leader Amelia Womack also welcomed Polanski to the role, saying, “I feel confident that Zack will be able to help us take that next step so many are calling for and see more Green MPs elected at the next general election and I look forward to seeing the Greens continue to flourish in the coming years.”

Turnout in the election was low, with 6,266 of the party’s more than 50,000 members casting votes – equivalent to just 12.5 per cent.

The election was at times fraught, with candidates clashing on numerous occasions at hustings – particularly over trans rights. At one hustings, Polanski accused Ali of “sitting with Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin” on the issue.

Other differences in the campaign centred around the party’s campaign strategy. Scott’s campaign pitched to the left of the party’s membership and emphasised a desire to reorient the party’s campaigning efforts towards community organising. By contrast, Polanski emphasised his ability as an effective media performer in making his case to members.

The election for deputy leader was held concurrently with an election for members of the party’s executive.

This article was published jointly with Left Foot Forward.

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Image credit: Rob Browne – Creative Commons