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Yearbook 2007

Poland. The year began dramatically for Poland's powerful Catholic Church. When Warsaw Archbishop Stanisław Wielgus was formally installed in his office in early January, he resigned instead. The reason was revelations in the press that he was cooperating with the former Communist regime's security service.

2007 Poland

According to CountryAAH, the Archbishop's prayer followed the Conservative government's determination to settle with Poland's communist past. According to a new law from the turn of the year, hundreds of thousands of people in different professional groups must report whether they have cooperated with the security service. Anyone who refused or gave false information risked losing their employment. The law was met by harsh criticism. The twin brothers Kaczyński, President Lech and Prime Minister Jarosław, were accused of crusading against political opponents. The opposition appealed against the law and in May the Constitutional Court rejected large parts of it.

In February, the unstable government was reformed for the ninth time since taking office just over a year earlier. The Minister of Defense as well as the Minister of the Interior left their posts with reference to strong disagreements with Prime Minister Kaczyński.

Foreign policy in Poland was hot in the air when it was revealed at the beginning of the year that the government was holding talks with the United States on the placement of a future anti-robot system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of new armor, and Moscow signaled that it could respond by placing Russian robots in Kaliningrad, bordering Poland. In June, US President George W. Bush visited Poland and, together with President Kaczyński, assured that the new anti-robot system was not a threat to Russia.

Poland's tense relationship with Russia also affected the EU's relations with Moscow. Russia had previously stopped imports of Polish meat, citing that it did not meet quality requirements. Poland considered that the import stoppage was politically conditional and refused to sign a new cooperation agreement between the EU and Russia before the conflict was resolved.

Internally in the EU, Poland caused conflict in the negotiations for a new treaty for the Union. The Polish government demanded increased voting weight in relation to the largest EU countries, and opposed the last proposal that the EU Presidency Germany sought to get through at the EU summit of Midsummer. After dramatic nightly negotiations, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened to put Poland out of the treaty, a compromise was reached where the current voting system is not completely removed until 2017.

In July, a new Polish government crisis broke out when Agriculture Minister Andrzej Lepper was dismissed on suspicion of corruption in his department. Then was also fired the Interior Minister, who was accused of trying to prevent an investigation into the corruption. Lepper's party Self-defense left the government, which thus ended up in a minority in parliament. The disintegration continued when the two ministers from the Polish families' union were dismissed. Thus, Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński led a government with only his own party Law and Justice (PiS). In September, Parliament decided to dissolve and new elections were announced until October.

Although PiS increased by five percentage points to 32 percent and 166 seats, the election became a major victory for right-wing opposition leader Donald Tusk. The Citizens' Platform (PO) rose from 24 to 41.5 percent, taking 209 of the 460 seats in Parliament. The new left alliance did not increase, but remained at 13 percent, while the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) went up to 9 percent and 31 seats. No other parties entered Parliament. The fact that PiS lost government power was explained by the fact that voters tired of the Kaczyński brothers' confrontation policy both at home and in the EU.

Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński handed in his resignation to twin brother President Lech Kaczyński, who reluctantly commissioned Donald Tusk to form a new government. It took office in November and was a coalition between PO and PSL. New Foreign Minister became Radosław Sikorski, who earlier in the year left the post of Minister of Defense in the old government and then joined the PO.

In Europe, the new Polish government was welcomed, which promised better relations with the EU and announced that Poland should withdraw its soldiers from Iraq at the end of 2008. The conversation climate with Moscow improved and in December Russia lifted the ban on meat imports from Poland.

Poland's history after 1989

In 1989, Poland held its first partially free elections since World War II. The election was a defeat for the Polish Communist Party and paved the way for a free and democratic Poland and later other former Eastern European countries with a communist regime.

The process led to membership of NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, and Poland in the 2000s became an influential European country with a rapidly growing economy. In 2005, the political landscape took a strong turn in a deeply conservative direction.

The 2015 presidential election

The first round of the 2015 presidential election was held on May 10. As none of the candidates received more than 50 percent of the votes cast, a new ballot was held on May 24. The election then stood between Andrzej Duda of the Party of Law and Justice (PiS) and incumbent President Bronisław Komorowski. They received 34.76 and 33.77 percent of the votes in the first round of elections, respectively.

Andrzej Duda, who won the second round with 51.55 percent of the vote, was elected president on August 6. The turnout for the two electoral votes was 49.4 and 55.34 per cent, respectively.

The next presidential election will be held in May 2020.

Parliamentary elections 2015

Parliamentary elections were held on October 25. At the election, the Party of Law and Justice (PiS) received 37.58 percent of the vote and 235 of 460 representatives in Sejm. In the Senate, PiS got 62 of the 100 representatives. Following this election, PiS established a majority government with Beata Szydło as prime minister. She was inaugurated on November 16, 2015 and thus became the third woman head of government in Poland.

Below are the percentages of the individual parties and the number of representatives in Sejm as a result of the election on October 25, 2015:

  • Law and Justice Party(Prawo in Sprawiedliwość, PiS): 37.58 percent, 235 representatives
  • Citizen Platform(Platforma Obywatelska, PO): 24.09 per cent, 138 representatives
  • Kukiz'15: 8.81 percent, 42 representatives
  • The party "Modern Poland"(Nowoczesna): 7.60 percent, 28 representatives
  • The Polish People's Party(Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL and the Norwegian Peasant Party): 5.13 percent, 16 representatives
  • The German minority(Mniejszość Niemiecka, MN): 0.18 percent, one representative.

The turnout was 50.92 per cent.

It is the first time since 1990 that a left-wing party is not represented in Sejm. Prior to the October 25, 20154 election, five leftist parties, including the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), formed a new party alliance: the United Left Alliance (Zjednoczona Lewica). This alliance received 7.55 percent of the vote and thus came under the eight percent block limit. Two smaller lots on the far right and the far left, respectively, fell below the 5 per cent limit.

The 2020 presidential election

The presidential election should have taken place on May 10, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, PiS and a support party in Sejm announced on May 6 that the election will be postponed. The parties stated that as soon as the Supreme Court accepts that the election is postponed, the President of Sejm must state a new election date.

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