Polish parliamentary election, 2001

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Polish parliamentary election, 2001
Poland
1997 ←
23 September 2001
→ 2005

All 460 seats in the Sejm
231 seats were needed for a majority in the Sejm
All 100 seats in the Senate
  First party Second party Third party
  MylerPL5.JPG Maciej Płażyński 2.jpg ALepper na stacji benzynowej.jpg
Leader Leszek Miller Maciej Płażyński Andrzej Lepper
Party SLD PO Self-Defence
Leader since December 1997 24 January 2001 10 January 1992
Leader's seat 9 – Łódź 25 – Gdańsk 40 – Koszalin
Last election 164 seats, 27.1% Did not exist 0 seats, 0.1%
Seats won 216 65 53
Seat change Increase 52 Increase 65 Increase 53
Popular vote 5,342,519 1,651,099 1,327,624
Percentage 41% 12.7% 10.2%
Swing Increase 13.9% Increase 12.7% Increase 10.1%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Lech Kaczyński.jpg
Leader Lech Kaczyński Jarosław Kalinowski Roman Giertych
Party PiS PSL LPR
Leader since 22 March 2001 11 October 1997 21 April 2001
Leader's seat 25 – Gdańsk 18 – Siedlce 20 – Warsaw II
Last election Did not exist 27 seats, 7.3% Did not exist
Seats won 44 42 38
Seat change Increase 44 Increase 15 Increase 38
Popular vote 1,236,787 1,168,659 1,025,148
Percentage 9.5% 9% 7.9%
Swing Increase 9.5% Increase 1.7% Increase 7.9%

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
  2010-07 Jerzy Buzek 1.jpg 2004.05.09. Bronislaw Geremek 02.jpg
Leader Jerzy Buzek Bronisław Geremek Henryk Kroll
Party AWS UW German Minority
Leader since 15 January 1999 18 December 2000 1991
Leader's seat Gliwice Warsaw Opole
Last election 201 seats, 33.8% 60 seats, 13.4% 2 seats, 0.4%
Seats won 0 0 2
Seat change Decrease 201 Decrease 60 Steady
Popular vote 729,207 404,074 47,230
Percentage 5.6% 3.1% 0.4%
Swing Decrease 28.2% Decrease 10.3% Steady

Wybory sejm 2001.png

Powiats with party majority

– Democratic Left Alliance – Polish People's Party
– Civic Platform – Solidarity Electoral Action
– League of Polish Families – German Minority


Prime Minister before election

Jerzy Buzek
AWS

New Prime Minister

Leszek Miller
SLD

The 2001 Polish parliamentary election was held on 23 September 2001 to elect deputies to both houses of the National Assembly.[1] The election concluded with an overwhelming victory for the centre-left Democratic Left Alliance – Labor Union, the electoral coalition between both the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Labour Union (UP), which captured 41% of the vote in the crucial lower house Sejm. The 2001 election is recognized as marking the emergence of both Civic Platform (PO) and Law and Justice (PiS) as players in Polish politics, while also witnessing the outright collapse of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) and its former coalition partner, the Freedom Union (UW).

Voter turnout for the 2001 election was 46.29%[2] For this election only, list seats were allocated using the Sainte-Laguë method instead of the d'Hondt method.

Background[edit]

At the end of its four-year term, the ruling AWS government of Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek faced bleak prospects for the September parliamentary election. In the previous presidential election in 2000, the SLD's Aleksander Kwaśniewski achieved a landslide reelection over AWS candidate Marian Krzaklewski. Economically, Polish consumer confidence dropped to its lowest since the mid-1990s, with unemployment rising above 16%.[3] Politically, the Buzek government faced a series of crises undermining its credibility. In May 2000, the AWS' junior coalition partner, the Freedom Union, walked out of the government regarding the party's objections to the slow pace of reform, forcing Buzek to set up a relatively weak minority government in its place.[4] Later in July 2001, Buzek's government was again hit by three further ministerial resignations over corruption charges, while the government's reform program for pensions and health care grounded to a halt in the Sejm.[3]

In light of Buzek's besieged administration, opposition parties took advantage of AWS' organisational and economic weaknesses. From the centre left, a political coalition between the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Labour Union (UP), headed by Leszek Miller, appeared as the ruling government's most formidable, united and vocal opposition. On the centre right, Solidarity's traditional spectrum of support increasingly became divided by the emergence of new political groups. Civic Platform (PO), composed of former AWS and UW members, repeated calls for a low flat-rate income tax and a culling of bureaucracy to attract investment.[3] Further down the right, the Law and Justice party (PiS), composed of AWS' more conservative and anti-communist adherents, campaigned on promises of tough anti-corruption and organised crime legislation.[3]

The campaign leading up to the September election was marred by voter antipathy due to the summer holidays, as well as being marginalized by the September 11 attacks in the United States.[5]

Results[edit]

The SLD triumphed in the final tally, receiving 41% percent of the vote, though shy of an outright parliamentary majority in the Sejm.[6] The party increased its representation by 52 seats, earning it 216 representatives, and effectively returned the SLD to the Chancellery after a four-year period of sitting in opposition. Partly due to the fractious nature of its opponents, the SLD secured party pluralities in all of Poland's voivodeships as well as in an overwhelming majority of the nation's powiats. On the centre right, Civic Platform entered parliament for the first time, coming in second place with nearly 13% of the vote.[6] The party stood relatively strong in Pomeranian Voivodeship.

Surprisingly, ultra-nationalist parties performed well in the election's final results. The left-wing nationalist Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland (SRP) increased its vote 100-fold from the 1997 election, securing 53 seats and 10% of the vote, coming in third place. Headed by populist Andrzej Lepper, the party campaigned against Warsaw excess and Poland's ongoing negotiations to enter the European Union.[7] On the far right, the League of Polish Families also entered the Sejm for the first time, gaining 38 seats and 8% of the vote, who campaigned on a staunchly Catholic and anti-EU platform.[7]

Law and Justice (PiS), headed by Lech Kaczyński, a former Minister of Justice in the Buzek government, scored 44 seats and 9.5% of the vote, also securing his party's entrance into the Sejm for the first time. The Polish People's Party (PSL) won 42 seats, slightly reversing the party's devastating loses from 1997. The PSL would later enter into coalition with the SLD to achieve a parliamentary majority.

The election proved catastrophic for Solidarity Electoral Action and its former Freedom Union coalition partner. Both parties failed to secure the 8% threshold to enter the Sejm, with AWS and UW falling to 5.6% and 3.1%, respectively.[6] In the election's aftermath, Prime Minister Buzek tendered his resignation. Both the AWS and UW faced political extinction following the election's aftermath. The AWS dissolved itself by the end of 2001; the UW lingered until its own dissolution in 2005.

Sejm[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Democratic Left Alliance – Labor Union 5,342,519 41.0 216 +52
Civic Platform 1,651,099 12.7 65 New
Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland 1,327,624 10.2 53 +53
Law and Justice 1,236,787 9.5 44 New
Polish People's Party 1,168,659 9.0 42 +15
League of Polish Families 1,025,148 7.9 38 New
Solidarity Electoral Action 729,207 5.6 0 –201
Freedom Union 404,074 3.1 0 –60
Social Alternative Movement 54,266 0.4 0 New
German Minority 47,230 0.4 2 0
Polish Socialist Party 13,459 0.1 0 New
German Minority Upper Silesia 8,024 0.1 0 0
Polish Economic Union 7,189 0.1 0 New
Polska Wspólnota Narodowa 2,644 0.0 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 541,483
Total 13,559,412 100 460 0
Registered voters/turnout 29,364,455 46.3
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Senate[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Democratic Left Alliance – Labor Union 10,476,677 38.7 75 +47
Senate 2001 6,582,224 24.3 15
Polish People's Party 3,631,234 13.5 4 +1
Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland 1,158,887 4.3 2
League of Polish Families 1,097,058 4.1 2 New
Real Politics Union 469,815 1.7 0 0
Local lists 3,624,697 13.4 2 –3
Invalid/blank votes 479,179
Total 13,590,426 100 100 0
Registered voters/turnout 29,364,455 46.3
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1491 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ "Wybory do Sejmu: ogólne dane statystyczne". Wybory do Sejmu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej i Senatu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, 23 września 2001. Państwowa Komisja Wyborcza. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The end of Solidarity". The Economist. 16 August 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Poland sets up minority government". BBC News. 6 June 2000. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Szczerbiak, Aleks (1 September 2002). "Poland's Unexpected Political Earthquake: The September 2001 Parliamentary Election". Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 18 (3): 41–76. doi:10.1080/714003608. 
  6. ^ a b c "Left victorious in Poland". BBC News. 24 September 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "The left is back—in the centre". The Economist. 27 September 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  • Obwieszczenie Państwowej Komisji Wyborczej z dn. 26 IX 1997 r., Monitor Polski. Nr 109, poz. 1186
  • Obwieszczenie PKW z dn. 26 IX 2001 r., Dz.U. Nr 109, poz. 1187