Polish parliamentary election, 2005: Wikis

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2001 Poland 2007
Polish parliamentary election, 2005
All 460 seats in the Sejm
and all 100 seats in the Senate
25 September 2005 (2005-09-25)
First party Second party Third party
Jarosław Kaczyński.jpg Donald Tusk.jpg Andrzej Lepper.jpg
Leader Jarosław Kaczyński Donald Tusk Andrzej Lepper
Party Law and Justice Civic Platform Self-Defence
Leader since 18 January 2003 1 June 2003 10 January 1992
Leader's seat Warsaw Gdansk Koszalin
Last election 44 seats, 9.6% 65 seats, 14.1% 53 seats, 11.5%
Seats won 155 133 56
Seat change +111 +68 +3
Popular vote 3,185,714 2,849,269 1,347,355
Percentage 27% 24.1% 11.4%
Swing +17.5% +11.4% +1.3%
Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Wojciech Olejniczak.jpg Roman Giertych.jpg Waldemar Pawlak Srebrne Usta 2006.jpg
Leader Wojciech Olejniczak Roman Giertych Waldemar Pawlak
Party Democratic Left Alliance League of Polish Families Polish People's Party
Leader since 29 May 2005 21 April 2001 29 January 2005
Leader's seat Sieradz Warsaw Plock-Ciechanów
Last election 217 seats, 47.2% 38 seats, 8.3% 42 seats, 9.1%
Seats won 55 34 25
Seat change -162 -4 -17
Popular vote 1,335,257 940,762 821,656
Percentage 11.3% 8% 7%
Swing -29.7% +0.1% -1.9%

Incumbent Prime Minister
Marek Belka
[[Democratic Party - demokraci.pl|Template:Democratic Party - demokraci.pl/meta/shortname]]

Republic of Poland

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Poland



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Parliamentary elections for both houses of the Parliament of Poland were held on September 25, 2005. Thirty million voters were eligible to vote for all 460 members of the lower house, the Assembly of the Republic of Poland (Sejm Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), and all 100 members of the upper house, the Senate of the Republic of Poland (Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej).

The election resulted in a sweeping victory for two parties of the centre-right, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) and the liberal-conservative Citizens Platform (PO). The incumbent center-left government of the Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD) was defeated. The two victorious parties won 288 out of the 460 seats, while the SLD won only 55 seats. The PiS won 155 seats while PO won 133. PiS leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, declined the opportunity to become Prime Minister so as not to prejudice his twin brother Lech Kaczyński's chances in the Presidential race. PiS instead nominated Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz for the post. The outgoing Prime Minister, Marek Belka, lost his seat.

In the Senate the PiS won 49 seats and PO 34 of the 100 seats, leaving eight other parties with the remaining 17 seats. The SLD won no seats in the Senate.

Contents

Background

The Sejm is elected by proportional representation from multi-member constituencies, with seats divided among parties which gain more than five percent of the votes using the d'Hondt method. On the other hand, the Senate is elected under first-past-the-post bloc voting. This tends to cause the party or coalition which wins the elections to have a larger majority in the Senate than in the Sejm.

At the 2001 elections, the SLD and UP won 216 of the 460 seats, and were able to form a government with the support of the Polish People's Party (PSL). The former ruling party, Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) based on the Solidarity trade union, lost all its seats. In its place several new right-wing parties emerged, such as the PO and the PiS.

After 2003 a variety of factors combined to bring about a collapse of support for the government. Discontent with high unemployment, government spending cuts (especially on health, education and welfare), affairs related to privatizations was compounded by a series of corruption scandals, leading to the resignation of the Prime Minister Leszek Miller in May 2004, who was succeeded by Marek Belka. All opinion polls suggested that the governing parties would be heavily defeated at these elections and that the right-wing parties would win a large majority. With the expected downfall of the post-communists, the right-wing parties competed mainly against each other.

Contestants

The parties running in this election were mainly the same as in 2001, with the addition of SDPL (a splinter group from the SLD), and the Democratic Party formed from the Freedom Union (UW) and some SLD dissidents. Both these new parties failed to win seats.

The BBC commented on election day: "The two centre-right parties are both rooted in the anti-communist Solidarity movement but differ on issues such as the budget and taxation. Law and Justice, whose agenda includes tax breaks and state aid for the poor, has pledged to uphold traditional family and Christian values. It is suspicious of economic liberalism. The Citizens Platform strongly promotes free market forces and wants to introduce a flat 15% rate for income tax, corporation tax and VAT. It also promises to move faster on deregulation and privatisation, in order to adopt the euro as soon as possible."

Results

e • d  Summary of the 25 September 2005 National Assembly (Sejm and Senate) election results
Parties Votes % Seats Sejm +/- Seats Senate
Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) 3,185,714 27.0 155 +111 49
Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) 2,849,259 24.1 133 +68 34
Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona RP) 1,347,355 11.4 56 +3 3
Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD) 1,335,257 11.3 55 -161 -
League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) 940,726 8.0 34 -4 7
Polish People's Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL) 821,656 7.0 25 -17 2
Social Democracy of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Polska, SDPL) 459,380 3.9 -   -
Democratic Party (Partia Demokratyczna) 289,276 2.5 -   -
Janusz Korwin-Mikke Platform (Platforma Janusza Korwin-Mikke, PJKM) 185,885 1.6 -   -
Patriotic Movement (Ruch Patriotyczny) 124,038 1.1 -   -
Polish Labor Party (Polska Partia Pracy, PPP) 91,266 0.8 -   -
German Minority Electoral Committee (Komitet Wyborczy Mniejszość Niemiecka) 34,469 0.3 2    
Polish National Party (Polska Partia Narodowa) 34,127 0.3 -    
Native House (Dom Ojczysty) 32,863 0.3 -    
Centre (Centrum) 21,893 0.2 -    
All-Poland Civic Coalition (Ogólnopolska Koalicja Obywatelska) 16,251 0.1 -    
Party Initiative of the Republic of Poland (Partia Inicjatywa Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) 11,914 0.1 -    
Polish Confederation - Dignity and Work (Polska Konfederacja - Godność i Praca) 8,353 0.1 -    
National Rebirth of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski) 7,376 0.1 -    
German Minority of Silesia (Mniejszość Niemiecka Śląska) 5,581 0.1 -    
Labour Party (Stronnictwo Pracy) 1,019 0.01 -    
Social Rescuers (Społeczni Ratownicy) 982 0.01 -    
Independents         5
  Total (turnout 40.6 %) 11,804,676   460   100
  • Registered voters: 30,338,316
  • Votes counted: 12,255,875
  • Invalid votes: 451,199
  • Valid votes: 11,804,676
Sejm
Senate

Had the two leading parties been able to form a coalition, as expected, it would have had 62.6 percent of seats in the Assembly, just short of the two-thirds supermajority required to carry out more ambitious projects, such as constitutional reform, but this was not to be (see below). The populist and isolationist Self-Defense of the Polish Republic (Samoobrona) slightly improved its representation and became the third largest party ahead of the SLD, which despite losing most of its seats performed slightly better than suggested in opinion polls. It has, however, lost all its Senate seats. The League of Polish Families and the Polish People's Party retained their representation. The German minority in Poland is exempt from the requirement of achieving at least 5% of the total vote and retained their 2 seats.

Distribution of vote

File:Poland electoral districts 2005.GIF
Map showing the geographical distribution of combined support for PiS and PO (click map to enlarge)

Although PiS and PO were the clear winners, their vote was very unevenly distributed, creating a basis for future conflicts. Their support is overwhelmingly concentrated in the cities, particularly Warsaw and the southern industrial areas around Kraków and Katowice, but also including Gdańsk, Gdynia, Poznań, Wrocław and Szczecin. The only urban centre not to endorse the right was Łódź. The two main parties failed to win a majority in any rural district except Rzeszów in the south. In seven rural districts they polled less the 40 percent of the vote, while in one (Chełm) they polled less than 35 percent. While no other single party polled a majority in any district, the vote shows the continuing sharp divide in Polish politics between urban voters, who are generally more socially liberal and in favour of free-market economics, and rural voters, who are more socially conservative and economically left-wing.

After the elections

Negotiations between PiS and PO about forming the new government collapsed in late October, precipitated by disagreement regarding who would be speaker of the Sejm. On 1 November the PiS announced a minority government headed by Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as the new Prime Minister. The negotiations were affected by the 9 October presidential election, where the PiS victor Lech Kaczyński is the twin brother of the PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński; Jarosław Kaczyński had declared that he would not become the Prime Minister if his brother wins the election. The constitutional requirement to form a government within a set time period also heated up the coalition negotiations.

A major stumbling block against forming a coalition was the PO's insistence on receiving the Interior portfolio if it were to enter a coalition government with the PiS, to prevent one party from controlling all three of the "power" ministries (Security, Justice and Interior) that control the police and security services. The PO also opposed a "tactical alliance" between the PiS and Samoobrona, who share eurosceptic and populists sentiments, although differing on economic policy. The election campaign, in which both centre-right parties competed mainly against each other rather than parties on the left, accentuated differences and created an antagonistic relationship between the two parties.

The minority government depended on the support of the radical Samoobrona and the deeply-conservative League of Polish Families (LPR) to govern, a situation that made many of those hoping for a PiS/PO coalition uneasy. On 5 May 2006 PiS formed a coalition government with Samoobrona and LPR.

In July 2006, Marcinkiewicz tendered his resignation, following reports of a rift with PiS party leader Kaczyński. Kaczyński formed a new government and was sworn-in on July 14, finally becoming prime minister.

Further reading

External links

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