List of political parties in Poland

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This article lists current political parties in Poland, as well as former parties dating back as far as 1918. Since 1989, Poland has had a multi-party system, with numerous competing political parties. Individual parties normally do not manage to gain power alone, and usually work with other parties to form coalition governments.

Parliamentary parties[edit]

Figures in parentheses reflect initial number of seats won by party (if different from current number), prior to splits, defections, etc.

Party   Members in Political Position
Name Abbr. Web Leader Sejm Senate EP Ideology
Civic Platform
Platforma Obywatelska
PO [1] Ewa Kopacz 203
(207)
62
(63)
25 Centre-rightLiberal conservatism,[1] Christian democracy,[1] Strong Pro-Europeanism
Law and Justice
Prawo i Sprawiedliwość
PiS [2] Jarosław Kaczyński 136
(157)
30
(31)
7
(15)
Right-wingNational conservatism,[1] Social conservatism,[1] Soft Euroscepticism
Your Movement
Twój Ruch
TR [3] Janusz Palikot 36
(40)
0

1
(0)
Centre-leftLiberalism,[1] Anti-clericalism,[1] Radicalism, Pro-Europeanism
Polish People's Party
Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe
PSL [4] Janusz Piechociński 32
(28)
2 4
(3)
Centre-rightAgrarianism,[1] Christian democracy[1]
Democratic Left Alliance [A]
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej
SLD [5] Leszek Miller 26
(27)
0

5
(6)
Centre-leftSocial democracy[1]
United Poland
Solidarna Polska
SP [6] Zbigniew Ziobro 12
(0)
0 4
(0)
National conservatism, Strong Euroscepticism
Poland Together
Polska Razem
PR [7] Jaroslaw Gowin 4
(0)
1
(0)
4
(0)
Liberal conservatism
Congress of the New Right
Kongres Nowej Prawicy
KNP [8] Janusz Korwin-Mikke 2
(0)
0 4 Economic Libertarianism, Social Conservatism, Euroscepticism, Right-wing
Labor United [A]
Unia Pracy
UP [9] Waldemar Witkowski 0

0

1

Centre-leftSocial democracy[1]

^A SLD and UP contested the 2009 European elections jointly, winning 7 seats between them.

List of parties[edit]

Major parties[edit]

  • Civic Platform (PO) – One of the two major parties on the Polish political scene since 2005, PO first entered the Sejm in 2001. Leading party in government since 2007. Member of the European People's Party.
  • Law and Justice (PiS) – Along with PO, PiS is one of the two major parties since 2005, first entering the Sejm in 2001. Leading party in government from 2005–2007. Largest opposition party since 2007.

Middling parties[edit]

  • Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) – The largest centre-left party (a coalition of parties until 1999) on the political scene, SLD was the major party of government from 1993–1997 and 2001–2005. Since 2005, SLD's dominance has been successfully challenged by PO and PiS. Member of the Party of European Socialists.
  • Polish People's Party (PSL) – Agrarian party, founded in 1990, PSL has been represented in the Sejm since its inception. Support levels for PSL have been more stable than for any other Polish political party since 1989. PSL normally scores 7–9% of the popular vote, and achieved its best result at the 1993 legislative elections, where it polled over 15%. Member of the European People's Party.
  • Your Movement (TR) – Liberal, anti-clerical party, founded as Palikot's Movement (RP) in 2010 by maverick M.P Janusz Palikot, a former Civic Platform politician. RP created something of a stir at the 2011 elections, where it polled 10% of the vote, making it the third largest party, ahead of two of the established parties, PSL and SLD. In October 2013 RP merged with a few smaller parties to form a new party, Your Movement.
  • United Poland (SP) – Right-wing and Eurosceptic party which split from PiS, following the expulsion of Zbigniew Ziobro and his factional allies from the party, following the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Minor parties[edit]

  • Poland Together (PR) – Splinter party formed in 2013 under the leadership of Jaroslaw Gowin, breaking away from Civic Platform.
  • Labor United (UP) – Small social-democratic party which usually aligns itself with the Democratic Left Alliance. Member of the Party of European Socialists.

Formerly important parties or coalitions, since 1989[edit]

  • Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) – Coalition grouping in Poland, AWS was the political arm of the Solidarity trade union movement, and dominated government from 1997–2001. Suffered a severe defeat at 2001 legislative elections, after which it failed to win any parliamentary seats. The grouping was disbanded shortly thereafter.
  • Democratic Union (UD)/Freedom Union (UW) – The UD was one of the leading post-Solidarity groupings, and was formed in 1990. It merged with the Liberal Democratic Congress to form the UW in 1994. The UW lost all its seats in the Sejm at the 2001 elections. It reinvented itself as the Democratic Party in 2005.
  • Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (SdRP) – founded in 1990 as the successor of the Polish United Workers' Party, was succeeded itself by the Democratic Left Alliance upon its establishment as a single political party in 1999.
  • Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona) – A major but controversial agrarian party which first won election to the Sejm in 2001. Samoobrona participated in a coalition government dominated by PiS, 2006–2007. Samoobrona lost its Sejm representation after the 2007 elections, and its European Parliamentary representation in 2009.
  • League of Polish Families (LPR) – a right-wing party, in the Sejm from 2001. Formed a coalition government with PiS and Samoobrona in 2006–2007. Lost all of its seats in the Sejm after the 2007 elections, and lost all EU parliamentary seats after the European elections of 2009.

Other parties[edit]

Overview[edit]

The transition from a mono-party Communist regime to liberal 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 the Polish Beer-Lovers' Party (Polska Partia Przyjaciół Piwa), led by a popular comedy actor, Janusz Rewiński). The existence of so many parties in the Sejm was seen by many as being counterproductive to 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, level, 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 (Communist successor) 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. The new competing groupings are those of the Law and Justice party (promoting nationalistic and conservative social policies) and the Civic Platform (representing a more conservative-liberal position). 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".

All political parties and organizations since 1989[edit]

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 organizations in Poland, 1945–89[edit]

Official political parties and organizations in the People's Republic of Poland, 1948–89[edit]

Parties
Organizations

Official parties in Poland, 1945–48[edit]

Political parties in the Second Polish Republic, 1918–39[edit]

Political parties before 1918[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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