Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania
|Founded||28 August 1994|
|Headquarters||str. Pilies 16, Vilnius|
|Membership||1,200 (the end of 2010)|
|Ideology||Polish minority interests
|Political position||Centre-right|
|European affiliation||Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists|
|European Parliament group||European Conservatives and Reformists|
|Colours||Red and white (colours of the Polish flag)|
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Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos lenkų rinkimų akcija or LLRA; Polish: Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie or AWPL) is a political party in Lithuania. It represents the Polish minority and positions itself as Christian democratic. It has 8 seats in the Seimas, one seat in the European Parliament, and 11 seats in coalition with the Russian Alliance in the Vilnius City Municipality.
Formed in 1994 from the political wing of the Association of Poles in Lithuania, LLRA experienced a surge in support in the 2000s, under the leadership of Waldemar Tomaszewski. It increased its representation from under 2% in 2000, leading to the party being invited to join the governing coalition: an invitation they rejected. They increased their vote again to 3.8% in 2004 and 4.8% in the most recent election, in 2008: just short of the 5% election threshold for any of the Seimas's 70 proportional representation seats. In the 2009 European election, they won 8.2% and one seat. The party's vote is concentrated in the south-east of the country, around the capital, where the Polish minority is located. At the 2012 election, LLRA broke through 5% in a parliamentary election for the first time: qualifying for proportional representation seats.
In the Seimas, the party sits with fellow centre-right party Order and Justice. LLRA's MEP (its leader Waldemar Tomaszewski) sits in the European Parliament with the European Conservatives and Reformists, which includes the Polish Law and Justice and Poland Comes First, and the party is a member of the AECR.
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At the beginning of 1994 the law on social organisations was adopted. According to this law, social organisations had to transform into political parties or simply remain social organizations. Till that time the Association of Poles in Lithuania (LLA) was a public-political organisation. Thus it had the option to act both in social and political spheres. The Polish community which did not have its own party faced the difficult task of keeping the Association and simultaneously enabling its participation in the political life of Lithuania at the same time. The appointment of the party required a lot of organizational effort. In this situation the central administration of the LLA convened 5th Extraordinary Conference of LLA on 14 August. During the Conference the decision was adopted to transform the APL into a social organisation and support the efforts of the group initiating the establishment of a party set up under the name of the Electoral Action of the LLA. Finally, on 23 October after the pressure from the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice to remove the word ‘Union’ from the name of the party, it was registered as the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (LLRA). During the Founding Conference of 1994 and 1997 Jan Senkevič was elected as an LLRA leader. In 1999 during the 3rd LLRA Conference Valdemar Tomaševski became the chairman of the organisation. Moreover, Tomaševski was elected as a leader on the 4th and 5th LLRA Conferences.
The LLRA takes part in various elections – starting with municipal through parliamentary and ending with the elections to the European Parliament in 2004. During the whole period of its existence the LLRA took part in defense of the interests of the Polish minority in Lithuania. The Union of the Russians of Lithuania had cooperated with the LLRA in elections, running within a common list in 2004.
The parties primary aim is not ideological, but the protection and enhancement of the rights of the Polish minority, who make up 7% of Lithuania's population. Their main policies include the restoration of land seized from Poles by the Soviet government, the improvement of the education system and allowing the use of the Polish language in schools, and giving official recognition to the Polish orthography of names.
It supports a more influential political role for the Roman Catholic Church, mandatory religious education in schools, and a reduction in the number of Lithuanian parliamentarians from 141 to 101 coupled to an increase in the number of local councillors.
LLRA is a member of the Europe-wide anti-federalist Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR), along with both Law and Justice and Poland Comes First from Poland. It is also member of the AECR's associated political grouping, the European Conservatives and Reformists, having resisted intensive lobbying from the Polish Civic Platform to join the EPP group, to which Civic Platform belong and to which LLRA had been considered likely to join. Its youth wing belongs to the European Young Conservatives.
Below are charts of the results that the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (and the Association of Poles in Lithuania in 1992) has secured in the Seimas at each election. Timelines showing the number of seats and percentage of votes won are on the right.
Members of the parliament
|Irina Rozova||2004-2008; since 2012|
- Daugiausiai nario mokesčio surinko socdemai - 643 tūkst. Lt
- Nordsieck, Wolfram, "Lithuania", Parties and Elections, retrieved 1 November 2012
- "Municipal election in Lithuania". baltic-course.com. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Lithuanian coalition". Warsaw Business Journal. 24 April 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Bale, Tim; Hanley, Seán; Szczerbiak, Aleks. "'May Contain Nuts'? The Reality behind the Rhetoric Surrounding the British Conservatives' New Group in the European Parliament". The Political Quarterly. 81 (1): 85–98. doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.2009.02067.x.
- Sawicki, Krzysztof (2009). Raport o sytuacji Polonii i Polaków za granicą: 2009 (PDF) (in Polish). Warszawa: Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych, Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych. p. 141. ISBN 978-83-89607-81-2. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
- LLRA pirmininku perrinktas V. Tomaševskis norėtų būti premjeras (papildyta)
- "Polski eurodeputowany z Litwy w EPP?". Rzeczpospolita. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Official website (Lithuanian) (Polish)