Civic Platform

Civic Platform
Civic Platform
Platforma Obywatelska
Leader Donald Tusk
Founded 1 July 2001
Headquarters Władysław Anders st. 21, 00-159 Warsaw
Membership  (2010) 46,000
Ideology Liberal conservatism[1][2][3], Christian democracy,
Economic liberalism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament Group European People's Party
Official colours Blue, Orange
207 / 460
63 / 100
European Parliament
25 / 50
Politics of Poland
Political parties

Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska), abbreviated to PO, is a centre-right, liberal conservative political party in Poland. It has been the major coalition partner in Poland's government since the 2007 general election, with party leader Donald Tusk as Prime Minister of Poland and Bronisław Komorowski as President. PO is the largest party in the Sejm, with 204 seats, and the Senate, with 54 seats.

The party was formed in 2001 as a split from Solidarity Electoral Action, under the leadership of Andrzej Olechowski and Maciej Płażyński, with Donald Tusk of the Freedom Union. In the 2001 election, PO emerged as the largest opposition party, behind the ruling centre-left party Democratic Left Alliance. PO remained the second-largest party at the 2005 election, but this time behind national conservative party Law and Justice (PiS). In 2007, Civic Platform overtook PiS, now established as the two dominant parties, and formed a government in coalition with the Polish People's Party. After the Smolensk disaster, Bronisław Komorowski was elected the first President from PO.

Civic Platform is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and Centrist Democrat International.



The Civic Platform was founded in 2001 as a split from existing parties. Founders Andrzej Olechowski, Maciej Płażyński, and Donald Tusk were sometimes jokingly called "the Three Tenors" by Polish media and commentators. Olechowski and Płażyński left the party during the 2001-2005 parliamentary term, leaving Donald Tusk as the sole remaining founder, and current party leader.

In the 2001 general election the party secured 12.6% of the vote and 58 deputies in the Sejm, making it the largest party in opposition to the government led by the Democratic Left Alliance.

In 2005, PO led all opinion polls with 26% to 30% of public support. However, in the 2005 general election, in which it was led by Jan Rokita, PO polled 24.1% and came second to Law and Justice's 27%. A centre-right coalition of PO and PiS (nicknamed:PO-PiS) was deemed most likely to form a government after the election. Yet the putative coalition parties had a falling out in the wake of the fiercely contested Polish presidential election in 2005.

Lech Kaczyński (PiS) won the second round of the presidential election on 23 October 2005 with 54% of the vote, ahead of Donald Tusk, the PO candidate. Due to the demands of PiS for control of all the armed ministries (the MOD, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the office of the Prime Minister, PO and PiS were unable to form a coalition. Instead, PiS formed a coalition with the support of the conservative Catholic-nationalist League of Polish Families and the agrarian-populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland. PO became the opposition to this PiS-led coalition government.

The PiS-led coalition fell apart in 2007 amid corruption scandal with Andrzej Lepper and Tomasz Lipiec[4] and internal leadership disputes. These events led to the new elections. In the 21 October 2007 parliamentary election, PO won 41.51% of the popular vote and 209 out of 460 seats (now 201) in the Sejm and 60 out of 100 seats (now 56) in the Senate of Poland. Civic Platform, now the largest party in both houses of parliament, subsequently formed a coalition with the Polish People's Party.

At the Polish presidential election in 2010, following the Smolensk air crash which killed Polish president Lech Kaczyński, Donald Tusk decided not to present his candidature, considered an easy possible victory over PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński. During the PO primary elections, Bronisław Komorowski defeated the Oxford-educated, PiS defector Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. At the polls, Komorowski defeated Jarosław Kaczyński, ensuring PO dominance over the current Polish political landscape.[5]

In November 2010, local elections granted Civic Platform about 30.1 percent of the votes and PiS at 23.2 percent, an increase for the former and a drop for the latter compared to the 2006 elections.[5]

PO succeeded in winning four consecutive elections (a record in post-communist Poland), and Donald Tusk remains as kingmaker. PO's dominance is also a reflection of left-wing weakness and divisions, with PiS suffering a splinter in Autumn 2010.[5] Ahead of the 2011 Parliamentary Elections, the party has shown increasing populism with its leader Donald Tusk, whilst travelling around Poland in the so-called Tuskobus (by some comically referred to as Cyrkobus), concentrating solely on warning Poles of the danger of PiS returning to power and offering little in terms of genuine programme or reforms. The Civic Platform campaign was marred by frequent prostests amongst the general populace, football fans being the foremost.

The 9 October 2011 parliamentary election was won by Civic Platform with 39.18% of the popular vote, 207 of 460 seats in the Sejm, 63 out of 100 seats in the Senate of Poland.


The Civic Platform combines liberal conservative stances on the economy with conservative stances on social and ethical issues, including opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, soft drug decriminalisation, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, and partially to wide availability of in vitro fertilisation. On the other hand, there is growing social liberal "faction" favoring progressive modernisation of country, social justice, social tolerance (especially civil pacts of solidarity), a social market economy, Flexicurity and environmental sustainability. The party also wants to criminalise gambling.

Core proposals from the party programme in the past included privatisation of the remaining public sectors of Polish economy, direct elections of mayors and regional governors, the first-past-the-post electoral system instead of proportional representation, labor law reform, independence over monetary policy by the National Bank of Poland, a 15% flat tax, and the decentralization of the state. As of the third year of Civic Platform's rule, privatisation is creeping with only a few enterprises privatised every year.[6]



Current Board

Notable Politcians

See also


  1. ^ Hanley, Seán; Szczerbiak, Aleks; Haughton, Tim; Fowler, Brigid (July 2008). "Explaining Comparative Centre—Right Party Success in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe". Party Politics 14 (4): 407–434. doi:10.1177/1354068808090253. 
  2. ^ Seleny, Anna (July 2007). "Communism's Many Legacies in East-Central Europe". Journal of Democracy 18 (3): 156–170. doi:10.1353/jod.2007.0056. 
  3. ^ Szczerbiak, Aleks (2006). Jungerstam-Mulders, Susanne. ed. Post-communist EU Member States: Parties and Party Systems. London: Ashgate Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 9780754647126. 
  4. ^ BBC News (2007-10-22): Massive win for Polish opposition
  5. ^ a b c Warsaw Business Journal
  6. ^


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