Freedom Union (Poland)

Freedom Union (Poland)

The Freedom Union ("Unia Wolności", UW) was a liberal party in Poland. It was founded on March 20, 1994 out of the merger of the Democratic Union ("Unia Demokratyczna", UD) and the Liberal Democratic Congress ("Kongres Liberalno-Demokratyczny", KLD). Both of these parties had roots in the Solidarity movement. It represented European liberal tradition, i.e. it advocated free market economy and individual liberty, rejected all extremism and fanaticism and favoured European integration (in the form of European Union membership), rapid privatisation of the enterprises still owned by the Polish state and decentralisation of the government.

In the 1991 general elections, the KLD received 7.5% of the vote and 37 seats in the Sejm (out of 460 seats) and the UD got 12.3% of the votes and 62 seats. In 1993 the KLD got 4.0% of the votes and was left without seats; the UD got 10.6% of the votes and 74 seats. In 1997 the UW got 13.4% of the votes and 60 seats. In 2001 it got 3.1% of the votes and was left without seats.

In January 2001 some members of the party's right wing decided to move to join the new Civic Platform ("Platforma Obywatelska"), which got 12.7% of the votes 65 seats in the 2001 general elections whilst the Freedom Union failed to cross the 5% threshold required to gain entry to Parliament. The Freedom Union remained existent as a social-liberal party, but it lost some of its relevance in Polish politics. It consistently enjoys the support of approximately 3% of voters. Surprisingly, the party managed to cross the required 5% threshold in the 2004 European Parliament elections, receiving 7% of votes and 4 of 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament as part of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, of which it is a member.

The initiative by the Freedom Union leadership to found the Democratic Party ("Partia Demokratyczna -") attracted a lot of attention. It was cofounded by Władysław Frasyniuk and economy minister Jerzy Hausner, joined by prime minister Marek Belka. Former Freedom Union member Tadeusz Mazowiecki also joined the inititiative. Legally the Democratic Party, founded May 9, 2005, is the successor of the Freedom Union.

Former leader

* Władysław Frasyniuk - Party chairman

Members of Polish Parliament (Sejm)

*None in this term, since 2001

Members of Polish Senate of the former Freedom Union

* Olga Teresa Krzyżanowska - caucus vicechairperson
* Dorota Simonides
* Kazimierz Kutz
* Andrzej Jan Wielowieyski - caucus chairman
* Grażyna Staniszewska (until June 13, 2004, elected to the European Parliament)

Members of the European Parliament of the former Freedom Union

* Bronisław Geremek, historian and politician, ex-minister of foreign affairs
* Jan Kułakowski, journalist, ex Poland-EU negotiator
* Janusz Onyszkiewicz, mathematician and politician, vicepresident of the European Parliament
* Grażyna Staniszewska, politician, senator

Former members of Freedom Union

* Jan Rokita - now Civic Platform
* Donald Tusk - now Civic Platform
* Janusz Lewandowski - now Civic Platform
* Jacek Kuroń - died June 17, 2004

ee also

*Liberalism in Poland
*Contributions to liberal theory
*Liberalism worldwide
*List of liberal parties
*Liberal democracy

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