Elections in Poland: Wikis

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Republic of Poland

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Politics and government of
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Elections in Poland gives information on election and election results in Poland. Poland has a multi-party political system. Poland elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. There are also various local elections, referenda and elections to the European Parliament.

Poland has a long history of elections dating several centuries, including the elections to Sejm from 1182 and the elective monarchy from 1569 to 1795. There were also elections in the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939), and the People's Republic of Poland, although most of the latter are considered to have been rigged.

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Modern Poland

Poland has a multi-party political system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Poland elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five year term by the people. The National Assembly has two chambers. The parliament (Sejm) has 460 members, elected for a four year term by party lists in multi-seat constituencies with a 5% threshold for single parties and 8% threshold for coalitions, (requirement waived for national minorities). The Senate (Senat) has 100 members elected for a four year term in 40 multi-seat constituencies. Since 1991 elections are supervised by National Electoral Commission (Państwowa Komisja Wyborcza), whose administrative division is called the National Electoral Office (Krajowe Biuro Wyborcze).

History

Poland has a long history of elections dating many centuries from the first Sejm in 1182. From the Sejm of 1493 Polish kings had to call regular Sejms and sejmiks (regional elections) every two years. From 1573 the system of free election required the election of kings during the Sejm.

The first modern and free elections were held in 1919, two months after Poland regained its independence in 1918. After the May Coup there were questions how free are the Polish elections, specially the elections of 1930 are often called non-free. After the Second World War, Poland became controlled by the communists, who rigged the elections of 1947 to ensure they controlled the entire Polish government. Although there were regular elections in Poland from that time, no elections until the groundbreaking elections of 1989, marking the fall of communism, were free. The elections of 1989, which guaranteed the Polish communist party and its allies a majority of lower house seats, but allowed opposition parties to gain representation, is considered to be a semi-free election. All subsequent elections, beginning with the 1991 election are considered fair and free.

Past Elections

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Poland (1989-present)

Lech and Maria Kaczyński in 2006

Since 1991, Polish elections operate according to a typical parliamentary system.

People's Republic of Poland (1945-1989)

Only the 1947 and 1989 can be considered as partially free. All others were non-free. There were no presidential elections during that period, with Bolesław Bierut being nominated president by the Sejm and the office being abolished by the new constitution in 1952.

Second Polish Republic (1918-1939)

It is disputed how free were elections held after 1926 were; in particular, the 1930 elections are often considered to have been non-free[1]. Polish presidents were elected by the Sejm and Senate (Zgromadzenie Narodowe), not in a popular vote. Before 1922, the Polish Chief of State was called Naczelnik Państwa.

Kingdom of Poland and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (until 1795)

Sejm

The first Sejm was called in 1182. Since the Sejm of 1493, called by king John I Olbracht in 1493, Sejms were to be held every 2 years. There were also special Sejms when needed, for example the coronation sejms.

Famous Sejms included:

Elective monarchy and officials

Since the death of Sigismund II Augustus, last of the Jagiellonian dynasty, and following a brief period of interregnum, the entire nobility (szlachta) of the Commonwealth (10% of the population) could take part in the elections of the monarchs. Last elected king was Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1764. He abdicated in 1795 after the partitions of Poland ended the existence of sovereign state of Poland for 123 years.

See also

Further reading

External links


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