Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government

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Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government
Leader Walery Sławek
Founded November 1927
Dissolved 30 October 1935
Headquarters Warsaw, Poland
Ideology Polish nationalism
Statism
Sanation
Authoritarianism
Anti-parliamentarism
Politics of Poland
Political parties
Elections

The Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government (Polish: Bezpartyjny Blok Współpracy z Rządem, pronounced [bɛsparˈtɨjnɨ ˈblɔk fspuwˈpratsɨ z ˈʐondɛm]; abbreviated BBWR) was a "non-political" organization that existed in the Second Polish Republic, from 1928 until 1935. It was closely affiliated with Józef Piłsudski and his Sanation movement. Among its major activists were such figures, as Walery Slawek, Kazimierz Bartel, Kazimierz Switalski, Aleksander Prystor, Jozef Beck, Janusz Jedrzejewicz, Waclaw Jedrzejewicz, Adam Koc, Leon Kozlowski, Ignacy Matuszewski, Boguslaw Miedzinski, Bronislaw Pieracki, Adam Skwarczynski, and Janusz Franciszek Radziwill.

In 1993 Lech Wałęsa, then President of Poland, founded a Nonpartisan Bloc for Support of Reforms, in Polish Bezpartyjny Blok Wspierania Reform, likewise abbreviated "BBWR," which was meant to continue some of the traditions of the prewar organization, and form a group in parliament that explicitly supported the president. The organization achieved limited success in the 1993 elections, capturing 5.41% of the vote.

BBWR in 1928 - 1935[edit]

The BBWR was created in November 1927, by Walery Slawek, who was urged to do so by Jozef Pilsudski. The organization consisted of several smaller parties, including those representing national minorities. Also, a few deputies of the Polish Socialist Party and PSL Piast decided to join the new movement. The BBWR was not a classic political party, as it consisted of people with sometimes very different opinions. They were united by the personality of Pilsudski, whom they supported, and the BBWR had several targets: to carry out changes in constitution, to keep the National Democracy away from the parliament, and to attract conservatives and business circles.

Political program of the BBWR was announced on January 19, 1928. It was based on the following principles:

  • the cult of Jozef Pilsudski,
  • criticism of party favouritism, which had a destructive influence on the condition of the state,
  • the need to change the constitution, with more power in the hands of the president and limiting the powers of the parliament,
  • social solidarism.

During the campaign for the 1928 election, which took place in March, the BBWR won 130 seats in the Sejm (out of 444), and 46 seats in the Senate (out of 111). On June 28, 1928, the government of Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel was created. Even though the movement did not have a majority in the Polish Parliament, Jozef Pilsudski regarded his party as the winner of the election, but to his surprise, left-wing politician Ignacy Daszynski was chosen the speaker of the Sejm.

The government of Bartel was on April 14, 1929 replaced by the more radical government of Kazimierz Switalski. It was based on the so-called “group of colonels”, who were personal friends of Pilsudski. On December 6, 1930, the Sejm passed the motion of no confidence, and Switalski was replaced by Bartel. The new government was dissolved on March 29, 1930, and new Prime Minister was Walery Slawek. In response, opposition parties united, creating the so-called Centrolew, and organizing a mass anti-government demonstration in Krakow, on June 29, 1930. On August 25, 1930, Jozef Pilsudski took the post of Prime Minister, and on September 9, first arrests of opposition politicians took place. The parliament was dissolved, and the opposition leaders were imprisoned in the Brest Fortress.

In the 1930 election, which was also called the “Brest election”, the BBWR won 249 seats in the Sejm, and 75 in the Senate. On December 4, 1930, the second government of Walery Slawek was created. It existed until May 1930, when Aleksander Prystor became new Prime Minister. Facing financial crisis (see Great Recession), Prystor decided to cut public spending in order to balance the budget. In 1933, a program of public works was created, in order to reduce widespread unemployment. Furthermore, in 1932 - 1933 the BBWR government carried out a great educational reform. At the same time, oppositional activities were curbed, following three new bills which limited the means of street protests and possibilities of creating new movements (see also Brest trials).

In the summer of 1933, Prystor lost the confidence of Jozef Pilsudski, and was replaced by Janusz Jedrzejowicz. At the same time, Pilsudski and his subordinates began drafting the April Constitution, and on May 15, 1934, the new government of Leon Kozlowski was created. In June of the same year, Minister of Internal Affairs Bronislaw Pieracki was murdered by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The government in response opened the The Bereza Kartuska detention camp.

After the death of Jozef Pilsudski (May 12, 1935), the weakened BBWR continued to exist until October 30, when it was dissolved by Walery Slawek. The tradition of the movement was continued by the Camp of National Unity, which was formed in February 1937.

BBWR in the 1990s[edit]

The Nonpartisan Bloc for Support of Reforms (Bezpartyjny Blok Wspierania Reform, also abbreviated BBWR), was founded to continue the traditions of pre-war Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government. Its creation was announced by Lech Walesa on June 1, 1993, during a press conference in the garden of the Belweder. The movement was registered on October 30, 1993. It was a political party, supposed to provide Walesa with support in the Parliament. In the 1993 election, the BBWR won 5,41% of votes, or 8 seats (16 in the Sejm, 2 in the Senate). Disappointed with this result, Walesa began to disassociate himself from the organization.

The BBWR continued to exist until 1997. It supported Walesa in the 1995 presidential election, after which the party was split into several factions - the BBWR - Bloc for Poland (BBWR - Blok dla Polski), BBWR - United in Election (BBWR - Solidarni w Wyborach), New Poland (Nowa Polska), Republican Party (Partia Republikanie), and National Party of Retirees (Krajowa Partia Emerytow i Rencistow). In December 1997, Walesa created the Christian Democracy of the 3rd Polish Republic.

Sources[edit]

  • [1]
  • Krystyna Paszkiewicz: Partie i koalicje polityczne III Rzeczypospolitej. Wroclaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego, 2000, s. 13-16. ISBN 8322920512.

See also[edit]