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Poland - Political Parties

The transformations of 1989 brought fundamental change to the political and party system in Poland. The Polish United Workers' Party [PZPR], which had previously enjoyed hegemony for its Communist ideology, was obliged to relinquish this status in favor of political pluralism. Initially, the political divide was a clear-cut line between groups and parties that emerged from the Solidarity movement, and the post-Communist groups. Currently, this division has become somewhat vaguer and of lesser effect, and in many ways the Polish political scene now resembles European and world patterns.

In October 2007 Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski announced the formation of a new political party by Solidarity Election Action (AWS), the victorious grouping in the parliamentary elections. Krzaklewski said he believed the new party would be joined by union supporters and activists, members of groups whose programs are compatible with that of AWS, and unaffiliated people. He also said he hoped most of the nearly 30 parties belonging to AWS would join. By late 2000 the ruling Solidarity Election Action (AWS) split, as the three political parties that constituted AWS signed a federation agreement according to the project presented by the Sejm Speaker Maciej Plazynski. Plazynski proposed 10 November 2000 as the deadline for creating a federation of four equal organisations that are currently included in AWS: Conservative Peasant Party (SKL), the Christian National Union (ZChN), the Polish Party of Christian Democrats (PPChD), and AWS Social Movement (RS AWS).

The political parties in Poland represent a broad range of public consensus, with groups which may be classified as social-democratic, liberal, conservative, national, rural-interest, or populist. There are also radical groups with a negligible amount of public sympathy. Some observers of the Polish political scene have endeavoured to define a traditional division into left-wing, right-wing, and centre, but in practice very few of the existing parties may be accurately described in terms of such definitions.

The Citizens' Platform (PO) was created in 2001 by Andrzej Olechowski, Donald Tusk, and Maciej Plazynski (then Speaker of the Senate), former members of the Democratic Union (Unia Demokratyczna--UD) and Solidarity Election Action (AWS) parties. The Citizens' Platform is a group which represents the liberal electorate, private entrepreneurs and business circles, as well as all who want a wholesome and robust state based on a free-market economy and the principle of competition.

The Law and Justice Party (PiS) is a right-wing party which cherishes the traditions of independence and derives from the Solidarity movement of the 1980s. PiS represents a right-wing electorate which favors a traditional social order, a free-market economy, a strong and wholesome state, the principle of law and order and a resolute fight against crime and corruption. PiS was created in 2001.

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) is a party established in 1999 from a coalition of the same name. Alliance participated in the 2007 elections with the Democratic Party, the Polish Social Democracy and the Labour Union under the name of the Left and Democrats (LiD) movement, while now it has it's own parliamentary club - the Left. The Alliance represents social democratic outlook both in the social and economic area.

The Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) is a modern rural-interest party; it sees itself as a center party. It has been a member of the government coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance and the Labour Union. PSL represents the interests of farmers and agricultural employees, residents of rural areas and country towns. The PSL looks back to the political traditions of the large agrarian communities in Poland before the Second World War and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk's PSL, which was the only independent political party tolerated in a brief spell from 1945 to 1947.



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