Poland

I - Political context

Political change
I.1
What is the political context of the Eurozone crisis period in Poland? Have there been changes in government, elections, referenda or other major political events during the period of 2008-present?

In October 2007 the liberal-conservative Platforma Obywatelska (PO) won the parliamentary elections and received 41,51% of votes for Sejm’s mandates (209 mandates).[1] The national-conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) received 32,11% of votes for Sejm mandates (166 mandates). The centrist Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (PSL) received 8,91% of votes (31 mandates) and the left-wing Committee SLD+SDPL+PD+UP – 13,15% of votes (53 mandates) and one mandate – the German minority. Only the Platforma Obywatelska, Prawo i Sprawiedliwość and one independent candidate received seats in the Senat (accordingly 60, 39 and 1mandate).[2] The Platforma Obywatelska created a coalition with the Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, which lasted until the next elections in October 2011 with Donald Tusk (PO) as prime minister.

In the next parliamentary elections in October 2011, the Platforma Obywatelska again gained the highest number of votes 39,18% (207 mandates) and due to the lack of majority, it entered again into coalition with the Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe which repeated its outcome from 2007 elections (8,36% of votes, 28 mandates). Donald Tusk became prime minister again. The PiS won 29,89% of votes (157 seats), the left-wing parties Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (SLD) attracted 8,24 % of votes (27 mandates) and the Ruch Palikota (RP) – 10,02 % of votes (40 mandates). The German minority received one mandate. In 2012, some of the PiS MPs formed a new party in the Sejm, right-wing Solidarna Polska (SP).[3] In the Senat, the PO gained 63- seats, the PiS- 31, the PSL – two and also four independent candidates received seats.[4]

The President of the Republic is elected directly by the people to serve for five years and can be re-elected only once. In 2005 Lech Kaczyński (PiS) started his term as President of the Republic. In 2010, due to the crash of presidential plane and death of the President Lech Kaczyński, Bronisław Komorowski (PO) became President of the Republic.

No national referenda have taken place within the period at stake.

The Eurozone crisis has definitely affected the perception of Poles about the EU in general. [5] In March 2013, 78% of Poles supported Poland’s membership in the EU, whereas 15% was against it. These numbers are visibly smaller compared to the situation in previous years (July 2007), which was a share of 89% and 5% accordingly. This decrease is ‘certainly due to the financial crisis problems in some of the Member States’.[6]  Moreover, only 64% of Poles is in favour of the Eurozone accession.[7] Yet, the main reason is the possible increase of prices (25%) and not the financial crisis in the Member States that adopted Euro (8%).[8]

[1] http://wybory2007.pkw.gov.pl/SJM/PL/WYN/M/index.htm.

[2] http://wybory2007.pkw.gov.pl/SNT/PL/WYN/W/index.htm.

[3] http://wybory2011.pkw.gov.pl/wsw/pl/000000.html.

[4] http://wybory2011.pkw.gov.pl/wsw/pl/000000.html#tabs-2.

[5] The data comes from the CBOS questionnaires. CBOS is a well established institute researching public opinion in Poland. Cf. CBOS, Obawy i nadzieje związane z wprowadzeniem Euro w Polsce, http://www.cbos.pl/SPISKOM.POL/2013/K_042_13.PDF

[6] CBOS, Obawy i nadzieje związane z wprowadzeniem Euro w Polsce, http://www.cbos.pl/SPISKOM.POL/2013/K_042_13.PDF, p.1.

[7] CBOS, Obawy i nadzieje związane z wprowadzeniem Euro w Polsce, http://www.cbos.pl/SPISKOM.POL/2013/K_042_13.PDF, p.3.

[8] CBOS, Obawy i nadzieje związane z wprowadzeniem Euro w Polsce, http://www.cbos.pl/SPISKOM.POL/2013/K_042_13.PDF, p.9.