2015 Polish parliamentary election
All 460 seats to the Sejm of Poland
231 seats are needed for a majority in the Sejm
All 100 seats to the Senate of Poland
Seats won by Sejm District
The election was won by the largest opposition party, the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS), with 37.6% of the vote against the governing Civic Platform (PO), which achieved 24.1%. Official results, announced on 27 October, gave Law and Justice 235 of 460 seats (51 percent), a majority of four. PiS vice chairwoman Beata Szydło succeeded PO leader Ewa Kopacz as Prime Minister of Poland, heading a one-party cabinet.
It was the first election for a national parliament in Europe since the 1993 Norwegian elections in which the two largest parties were led by a female candidate, and the second election in history (also since the 1993 Norwegian election) where more than three parties fielded female leadership candidates. It was also the first election in Poland since the restoration of full democracy that a party won an absolute majority in the Sejm.
The process of election for the Sejm is through open party-list proportional representation via the D'hondt method in multi-seat constituencies, with a 5% national threshold for single parties and 8% threshold for coalitions (requirements waived for ethnic minorities). The senate is elected using first-past-the-post voting in single-member districts. To be included on a ballot, a senate candidate must present 2,000 signatures of support from their constituents. For Sejm elections, the threshold is 5,000 signatures per constituency, though that requirement is waived for parties that have already registered lists in at least half of all constituencies (21 out of 41 as of this election).
Overall, the Sejm includes 460 MPs. Should a party have 231 or more deputies in Parliament, it has an absolute majority and can thus govern autonomously, without the need for support from other parties. The constitution can be amended with a supermajority of two-thirds, or 307 deputies.
The date of the election, 25 October, was set by the previous President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski. The latest possible date for the election to be held was in November 2015, four years after the previous election. Prior to the announcement of the election date, the most likely dates were thought to be in October or November.
In the previous parliamentary elections in 2011 the Civic Platform–Polish People's Party coalition government, in power since 2007, won a second term. All 460 seats in the Sejm and 100 seats in the Senate were up for election.
Parties standing in the election
The opposition party, Law and Justice won the election with 37.58% of the vote against the governing Civic Platform, which gained a 24.09% share. Beata Szydło became the new Prime Minister, succeeding Ewa Kopacz. Law and Justice became the first party in Poland to win majority government in a free election, since 1991. The other parties considered winners were two newcomer parties, Kukiz's Movement (third place) and Ryszard Petru's Modern party (4th place).
Two of the biggest losers were Civic Platform and the Polish People's Party. PO suffered its worst result in a parliamentary election in ten years, ending eight years of political dominance. The PSL, the junior partner in the outgoing government, had its worst result in 25 years (5.13%), just crossing the 5% threshold by a few thousand votes. Another perceived loser was the Democratic Left Alliance, Poland's largest left-wing party, which failed to win a seat for the first time since the change of system. The SLD ran as the largest partner of the United Left, which was 0.5% short of the 8% threshold for electoral alliances to win seats.
|Law and Justice||5,711,687||37.58||235||+78|
|Polish People's Party||779,875||5.13||16||–12|
|Committee of Zbigniew Stonoga||42,731||0.28||0||New|
|German Minority Electoral Committee||27,530||0.18||1||0|
|United for Silesia||18,668||0.12||0||New|
|Committee of Grzegorz Braun "God Bless You!"||13,113||0.09||0||New|
|Congress of the New Right||4,852||0.03||0||0|
|Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland||4,266||0.03||0||0|
|Social Movement of the Republic of Poland||3,941||0.03||0||New|
|Citizens to Parliament||1,964||0.01||0||New|
|1 – Legnica||46.71||35.70||25.24||9.59||7.15||10.45||3.89||4.32||3.64||-||0.00||10.46|
|2 – Wałbrzych||44.83||31.15||32.65||8.81||6.64||8.76||3.18||4.30||3.41||-||1.09||1.50|
|3 – Wrocław||54.08||31.21||30.49||8.74||10.65||6.10||2.60||5.22||4.21||-||0.77||0.72|
|4 – Bydgoszcz||47.87||30.20||29.64||7.77||7.30||10.04||6.07||4.54||3.76||-||0.68||0.56|
|5 – Toruń||44.90||33.57||25.77||8.32||6.50||10.76||6.75||3.90||3.65||-||0.78||7.80|
|6 – Lublin||52.01||47.57||16.59||9.32||4.54||5.98||7.74||5.00||2.75||-||0.52||30.98|
|7 – Chełm||45.30||48.02||12.31||10.47||3.75||7.11||11.39||4.37||2.39||-||0.18||35.71|
|8 – Zielona Góra||44.63||28.27||28.21||8.75||9.99||10.02||5.12||4.99||3.99||-||0.65||0.06|
|9 – Łódź||56.74||29.90||31.28||7.24||8.99||10.48||2.70||4.78||4.63||-||0.00||1.38|
|10 – Piotrków Trybunalski||50.26||46.95||15.46||10.08||5.59||7.47||7.48||3.91||3.06||-||0.00||31.49|
|11 – Sieradz||48.47||39.93||21.18||8.92||5.32||8.18||7.86||4.10||3.54||-||0.98||18.75|
|12 – Chrzanów||54.46||49.05||20.42||8.67||5.79||5.33||3.03||4.45||3.26||-||0.00||28.63|
|13 – Kraków||58.81||38.62||24.61||7.26||9.73||6.38||2.70||6.35||3.88||-||0.48||14.01|
|14 – Nowy Sącz||52.18||60.56||13.95||7.83||3.69||2.55||4.16||4.31||2.13||-||0.80||46.61|
|15 – Tarnów||51.85||51.99||14.71||9.60||4.54||3.41||8.08||4.72||2.43||-||0.53||37.28|
|16 – Płock||46.22||43.78||16.44||8.41||5.15||8.14||10.66||4.07||3.35||-||0.00||27.34|
|17 – Radom||49.38||47.49||17.55||8.41||4.81||4.82||9.42||3.91||2.62||-||0.98||29.94|
|18 – Siedlce||50.56||51.10||13.55||8.36||4.63||4.35||10.23||4.35||2.66||-||0.76||37.55|
|19 – Warsaw I||70.80||29.89||27.54||7.76||13.39||8.55||0.72||6.18||5.54||-||0.43||2.35|
|20 – Warsaw II||60.00||38.80||25.12||7.22||10.01||5.66||3.80||4.81||3.85||-||0.73||13.68|
|21 – Opole||43.12||27.77||26.23||12.57||7.14||6.75||3.68||3.95||3.02||8.14||0.75||1.54|
|22 – Krosno||47.47||53.51||13.76||9.15||3.97||4.56||7.28||4.28||2.32||-||1.17||39.75|
|23 – Rzeszów||52.56||56.11||13.11||9.28||4.16||4.42||4.67||4.96||2.29||-||1.00||43.00|
|24 – Białystok||47.10||45.38||16.74||9.07||5.37||7.35||8.07||4.66||2.59||-||0.77||28.64|
|25 – Gdańsk||52.55||29.61||34.72||7.15||9.17||6.59||3.02||5.00||3.98||-||0.75||5.11|
|26 – Gdynia||51.28||31.22||33.46||8.02||8.22||6.64||3.23||4.43||4.05||-||0.75||2.24|
|27 – Bielsko-Biała||56.35||40.42||23.57||9.36||8.27||6.56||3.42||4.68||3.72||-||0.00||16.82|
|28 – Częstochowa||49.83||35.82||20.95||11.63||6.74||11.12||4.99||4.27||3.64||-||0.84||14.87|
|29 – Gliwice||49.12||30.51||28.99||12.19||8.90||7.21||2.50||5.09||4.15||-||0.48||1.52|
|30 – Rybnik||51.82||39.59||24.21||11.31||6.33||5.93||1.79||4.53||3.33||-||2.98||15.38|
|31 – Katowice||53.92||32.92||28.37||10.05||8.66||6.77||0.99||5.55||4.08||-||2.61||4.55|
|32 – Sosnowiec||51.41||29.65||25.56||10.24||8.97||13.97||2.35||4.81||4.44||-||0.00||4.09|
|33 – Kielce||46.82||42.81||17.25||9.41||4.98||7.87||9.51||4.14||2.80||-||1.23||25.56|
|34 – Elbląg||41.30||31.56||30.12||8.24||5.82||7.69||6.69||4.73||3.80||-||1.34||1.44|
|35 – Olsztyn||43.13||30.42||27.07||8.97||6.82||8.76||8.44||5.10||3.74||-||0.68||3.35|
|36 – Kalisz||47.27||31.85||24.69||7.98||7.04||8.82||10.98||4.25||3.17||-||1.23||7.16|
|37 – Konin||46.64||37.41||20.23||8.83||6.94||11.77||6.86||3.99||3.98||-||0.00||17.18|
|38 – Piła||46.07||27.26||31.02||9.01||6.98||9.15||7.66||4.07||3.92||-||0.93||3.76|
|39 – Poznań||60.23||23.90||35.65||6.06||14.49||8.07||1.91||4.77||4.60||-||0.55||11.75|
|40 – Koszalin||43.63||28.58||30.07||9.41||8.06||11.38||4.13||4.46||3.90||-||0.00||1.49|
|41 – Szczecin||47.27||29.09||31.93||8.42||8.66||8.56||3.88||5.33||4.12||-||0.00||2.84|
|Law and Justice||5,993,433||39.99||61||+30|
|Polish People's Party||1,109,675||7.40||1||–1|
|Citizens to Parliament||84,246||0.56||0||New|
|Congress of the New Right||79,946||0.53||0||0|
|National Revival of Poland||57,012||0.38||0||0|
|German Minority Electoral Committee||40,472||0.27||0||0|
|Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland||20,913||0.14||0||0|
|Social Movement of the Republic of Poland||14,316||0.10||0||New|
|Committee of Zbigniew Stonoga||10,167||0.07||0||New|
|Committee of Grzegorz Braun "God Bless You!"||7,916||0.05||0||New|
|Real Politics Union||6,190||0.04||0||0|
|Piast – Unity of the Thoughts of European Nations||1,786||0.01||0||New|
|Source: PKW, PKW|
Political analysts noted that the election marked the first time in the post-communist era that a political party received enough votes to form a majority government. BBC News suggested that Law and Justice's strategy of putting forward Szydło as its candidate for prime minister was a "winning formula" in the election. Szydło was widely perceived as being more moderate than PiS' outspoken leader, Jarosław Kaczyński. However, it also noted that Kaczyński could step into the role of prime minister after the election.
According to the Associated Press, the new Sejm was the most right-wing parliament in Europe due to the absence of centre-left MPs in the chamber. All five parties in the Sejm tilted rightward on social issues. Between them, left-leaning alliances only gained 11 percent of the vote.
Kopacz swiftly conceded defeat after exit polls from TVP showed PiS on its way to a majority, while Kaczyński declared victory and hailed his party's historic majority. Kaczyński also paid tribute to his late brother, President Lech Kaczyński, who died in the 2010 plane crash.
- History of Poland (1989–present)
- List of political parties in Poland
- 2015 Polish presidential election
- 2015 Polish Constitutional Court crisis
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The far-right Law and Justice party came to power in 2015, at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, after running a campaign that inspired choruses of "Poland for Poles".
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Since taking control of both the presidency and the parliament in November 2015, Poland’s far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party has swiftly changed the rules for public media, the secret service, education, and the military.
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Poland’s ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government followed suit last year.
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Poland's ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a second term in office last month, a victory that critics fear will accelerate the country's slide towards authoritarianism.
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Today, it is the main voice holding the ruling far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party accountable, while facing constant attacks from that government.
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Since the 2015 election of the far-right Law and Justice party in Poland, the country’s history with the Holocaust has become a point of contention with Israel.
- "Zack Blumberg: Europe's far right movements come on strong, but what next?". The Michigan Daily. 11 April 2019.
In the 2015 Polish parliamentary election, the far-right Law and Justice Party, or PiS, won with an outright majority (meaning they did not need to form a coalition to govern), something that had not been done in Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.
- "Revealed: dozens of European politicians linked to US 'incubator for extremism'". Open Democracy. 27 March 2019.
He had then recently left the far right Law and Justice (PiS) party over its failure to push through a constitutional amendment that would have banned abortion in all cases.
- "What to Make of the European Elections". The Atlantic. 30 May 2019.
In Poland, the far-right Law and Justice bested a broad alliance of moderate politicians.
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