Komunistyczna Partia Polski

List of political parties in Poland

Political parties in Poland lists current political parties in Poland, as well as former parties dating back as far as 1918. Since 1989, Poland has a multi-party system, with numerous competing political parties. Individual parties rarely have a chance of gaining power alone, and usually work with other parties to form coalition governments.

The parties

Major political parties

Parties that received more than 5% of votes at either 2004 European Parliament elections or the 2007 general elections to Sejm and whital splinter groups:

Party   Members in Political Position
Abbr. Name Website Leader Sejm Senate EP ¹ (Ideology)
PO Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) Donald Tusk 209 60 14 (15) Centre-right (christian democratic, liberal conservative)
PiS Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość) Jarosław Kaczyński 166 37 7 Centre-right (conservative)
SLD Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej2 5 Grzegorz Napieralski 40 0 4 (5) Centre-left (anti-clerical, social democratic)
PSL Polish People's Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe) Waldemar Pawlak 31 0 1 (4) Centre (agrarian, centrism, christian democratic)
SDPL Social Democracy of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Polska5 Marek Borowski 10 0 3 Centre-left (social democratic)
PD Democratic Party - demokraci.pl (Partia Demokratyczna - demokraci.pl3 5 Janusz Onyszkiewicz 3 0 4 Centre-left (social liberal)
LPR League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin) Mirosław Orzechowski 0 0 2 (10) Right (eurosceptic, national conservative)
SRP Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona RP) Andrzej Lepper 0 0 2 (6) Centre-left (agrarian, populist, christian socialism)
Piast "Piast" Party (Stronnictwo "Piast") Zdzisław Podkański 0 0 4 (0) Centre-right (agrarian, christian democratic, conservative)
Notes: ¹ 2004 European Parliament elections/ figure in parenthesis reflects initial number of seats won by party (if different to current number), prior to splits, defections etc.;  2 SLD contested EP elections in alliance with Unia Pracy;  3EP elections contested by precursor party, Freedom Union;  4SLD, SDPL & PD contested the 2007 parliamentary elections jointly as LiD;

Minor political parties

Parties that received less than 5% of votes at both 2004 European Parliament elections and the 2007 general elections to Sejm:

Overview

The transition from a mono-party Communist regime to democracy and pluralism resulted in new political parties mushrooming in the early 1990s. After the first free parliamentary elections in 1991 seats in the Sejm were divided among more than a dozen different parties (amongst them such curiosities as Polska Partia Przyjaciół Piwa (Polish Party of the Beer Admirers), lead by a popular Polish comedy actor, Janusz Rewiński). The existence of so many parties in the Sejm was seen by many as being counter-productive towards the effectiveness of the parliament and a hindrance towards producing stable governments. Consequently electoral reform was undertaken and an electoral threshold for the Lower House was instituted, prior to the 1993 elections. The set threshold, required a minimum vote of 5% for parties (with exemptions for ethnic minority parties) and 8% for electoral coalitions. The threshold was set at the national, rather than divisional levels, and had the effect of preventing a large number of minor parties from winning seats in later elections. The threshold also prevented independent candidates from gaining election to the Sejm. Since 1990, the left side of the political scene has generally been dominated by former Communists turned Social Democrats. The right has largely comprised (former) Solidarity activists and supporters, but experienced deep divisions from the beginning, and showed less cohesiveness than the left. The right were unable to create a single bloc which could act as a lasting counterweight to the left-wing monolith, but instead, kept merging, splitting and renaming. Even so, the parties of the right did manage to win government again from 1997-2001 (having initially governed from 1989-93).

Since the parliamentary elections of 2005, the right wing parties have dominated the political scene, and appear to be in their strongest position to date. Two important developments in the political landscape have taken place since 2005. Firstly, the SLD (ex-communist) party is no longer the major, or one of the two major parties. Secondly, the main political battleground is no longer between the ex-Solidarity right verses the ex-Communist left. This can be observed through the cooperation of parties such as the Democratic Party with the SLD (see Left and Democrats), the bitter rivalry between right wing parties Law and Justice and Civic Platform, as well as the impact of several controversial parties such as League of Polish Families and Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland on the political scene (both in Sejm from 2001-07). It is worth noting that the general public disapproval of politics and politicians as a whole, has resulted in almost all major parties excluding the very word "party" from their names, replacing it with words less associated with politics, such as "union", "platform", "league" or "alliance".

Alphabetical list of all political parties and organizations (after 1989)

This is a list of political organizations registered in Poland as political parties, societies, foundations, trade unions, electoral committees, electoral alliances and informal groups:

Underground political organization in Poland 1945-1989

Official political parties and organizations in the People's Republic of Poland 1948-1989

Official political parties in Poland 1945-1948

Political parties in the Second Polish Republic 1918 - 1939

Political parties existing prior to 1918

Further reading

  • Dariusz Cecuda, Leksykon Opozycji Politycznej 1976-1989, BIS Trust, Warszawa 1989
  • Małgorzata Dehnel-Szyc, Jadwiga Stachura, Gry polityczne. Orientacje na dziś, Oficyna Wydawnicza Volument, Warszawa 1991
  • Piotr Frączak (e.d), Gorączka czasu przełomu. Dokumenty ugrupowań radykalnych 1989-1990, Instytut Studiów Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Warszawa 1984
  • Inka Słodkowska (ed.), Programy partii i ugrupowań parlamentarnych 1989-1991' vol.1-2, Instytut Studiów Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Warszawa 1995

See also

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