Civic Platform

This article is about a political party in Poland. For the political party in Russia with the same name in English, see Civic Platform (Russia).
Civic Platform
Platforma Obywatelska
Leader Grzegorz Schetyna
Founded 24 January 2001
Split from Solidarity Electoral Action
Freedom Union
Headquarters Władysław Anders st. 21, 00-159 Warsaw
Youth wing "Young Democrats" Association
Membership  (2015) 17,000[1]
Ideology Liberal conservatism
Christian democracy
Political position Centre-right[3][4][5][6][7] to Centre[8][9][10][11][12][13]
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours Orange, Blue
133 / 460
33 / 100
European Parliament
19 / 51
Regional assemblies
166 / 555

Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO)[nb 1] is a liberal-conservative,[14][15][16][17] Christian democratic,[18][19] and liberal[20][21] political party in Poland. Civic Platform came to power following the 2007 general election as the major coalition partner in Poland's government, with party leader Donald Tusk as Prime Minister of Poland. Tusk was re-elected as Prime Minister in the 2011 general election but stepped down three years later to assume the post of President of the European Council. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz led the party in the 2015 general election but was defeated by the Law and Justice party. On November 16, 2015 Civic Platform government stepped down after exactly 8 years in power. In 2010 Civic Platform candidate Bronisław Komorowski was elected as President of Poland, but failed in running for re-election in 2015. PO is the second largest party in the Sejm, with 138 seats, and the Senate, with 33 seats. Civic Platform is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).

The party was formed in 2001 as a split from Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), under the leadership of Andrzej Olechowski and Maciej Płażyński, with Donald Tusk of the Freedom Union (UW). In the 2001 general election, PO emerged as the largest opposition party, behind the ruling centre-left party Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). PO remained the second-largest party at the 2005 general election, but this time behind the national-conservative party Law and Justice (PiS). In 2007, Civic Platform overtook PiS, now established as the two dominant parties, and formed a coalition government with the Polish People's Party. Following the Smolensk disaster of April 2010, Bronisław Komorowski became the first President from PO in the 2010 presidential election.

Since its creation, the party has shown stronger electoral performances in the west and north of Poland.[22]


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 Tusk as the sole remaining founder, and current party leader. In 2009, in interviews to Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper and Polsat News (3 July 2009), General Gromosław Czempiński, who in 1972–1990 had been an agent of Communist secret services,[23] stated that the Civic Platform was his idea. "I can say that I participated in a number of discussions, above all, I had to convince Olechowski and Paweł Piskorski to an idea, which they excellently put into practice. I also talked to Donald Tusk", said Czempiński.[24][25] Czempinski's words were confirmed by Andrzej Olechowski (also an agent of Communist services, operational name "Must"),[26] who in an interview given to Gazeta Polska said: "General Czempinski surely participated in a way in forming such ideas (...) I talked to General Czempinski about the newly created movement".[27]

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 (SLD).

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 only 24.1% and unexpectedly came second to the 27% garnered by Law and Justice (PiS). 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 of 2005.

Lech Kaczyński (PiS) won the second round of the presidential election on 23 October 2005 with 54% of the vote, ahead of Tusk, the PO candidate. Due to the demands of PiS for control of all the armed ministries (the Defence Ministry, 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 government with the support of the League of Polish Families (LPR) and Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (SRP). 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[28] and internal leadership disputes. These events led to the new elections in 2007. 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 (PSL).

At the Polish presidential election of 2010, following the Smolensk air disaster which killed the incumbent Polish president Lech Kaczyński, 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.[29]

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.[29]

PO succeeded in winning four consecutive elections (a record in post-communist Poland), and Tusk remains as kingmaker. PO's dominance is also a reflection of left-wing weakness and divisions on both sides of the political scene, with PiS suffering a splinter in Autumn 2010.[29]

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.[30]

In the 2014 European elections, Civic Platform came first place nationally, achieving 32.13% of the vote and returning 19 MEPs.[31]


The Civic Platform combines ordoliberal stances on the economy with social conservative stances on social and ethical issues, including opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, soft drug decriminalisation, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, removal of crosses and other religious symbols in schools and public places, and partially to wide availability of in vitro fertilisation. The party also wants to criminalise gambling and supports religious education in schools and civil unions. Other socially conservative stances of the party include voting to ban designer drugs and amending the penal code to introduce mandatory chemical castration of paedophiles. It is somewhat less strident on social issues than Law and Justice, however.

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-rate income tax, and the decentralisation of the state. As of the third year of Civic Platform's rule, privatisation is creeping with only a few enterprises privatised every year,[32] while governmental oppression and bureaucracy are rising, hence many accusations of populism and opportunism have been occurring.[33]

Despite declaring in the parliamentary election campaign the will to limit taxation in Poland the Civic Platform has in fact increased it. The party refrained from implementing the flat tax, increasing instead the value-added tax from 22% to 23% in 2011.[34] It has also increased the excise imposed on diesel oil, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and coil.[35][36] The party has eliminated many tax exemptions.[37][38][39]

Election results


Election year # of
% of
# of
overall seats won
+/– Govt?
2001 1,651,099 12.7 (#2)
65 / 460
2005 2,849,259 24.1 (#2)
133 / 460
Increase 68 Opposition
2007 6,701,010 41.5 (#1)
209 / 460
Increase 76 Coalition
2011 5,629,773 39.2 (#1)
207 / 460
Decrease 2 Coalition
2015 3,661,474 24.1 (#2)
138 / 460
Decrease 69 Opposition


Election year # of
overall seats won
2 / 100
As part of the Senate 2001 coalition, which won 15 seats.
34 / 100
Increase 32
60 / 100
Increase 26
63 / 100
Increase 3
34 / 100
Decrease 29


Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall votes % of overall vote
2005 Donald Tusk 5,429,666 36.3 (#1) 7,022,319 46.0 (#2)
2010 Bronisław Komorowski 6,981,319 41.5 (#1) 8,933,887 53.0 (#1)
2015 Supported Bronisław Komorowski 5,031,060 33.8 (#2) 8,112,311 48.5 (#2)

Regional assemblies

Election year % of
# of
overall seats won
2002 15.6 (#3)
97 / 561
In coalition with Law and Justice.
2006 27.2 (#1)
186 / 561
2010 30.9 (#1)
222 / 561
Increase 36
2014 26.3 (#2)
179 / 555
Decrease 43

European Parliament

Election year # of
% of
# of
overall seats won
2004 1,467,775 24.1 (#1)
15 / 54
2009 3,271,852 44.4 (#1)
25 / 50
Increase 10
2014 2,271,215 32.1 (#1)
19 / 51
Decrease 6



Current board

Notable politicians

See also


  1. The party is officially the Civic Platform of the Republic of Poland (Platforma Obywatelska Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej).


  1. "Platforma Obywatelska traci swoich członków |". wMeritum (in Polish). 25 December 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  2. Ingo Peters (September 2011). 20 Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Transitions, State Break-Up and Democratic Politics in Central Europe and Germany. BWV Verlag. p. 280. ISBN 978-3-8305-1975-1. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  3. Nathaniel Copsey (2013). "Poland:An Awkward Partner Redeemed". In Simon Bulmer; Christian Lequesne. The Member States of the European Union (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 191.
  4. Aleks Szczerbiak (2012). Poland Within the European Union: New awkward partner or new heart of Europe?. Routledge. p. 2.
  5. Jean-Michel De Waele; Anna Pacześniak (2011). "The Europeanisation of Poland's political parties and party system". In Erol Külahci. Europeanisation and Party Politics. ECPR Press. p. 125.
  6. Foy, Henry (7 September 2014). "Polish premier's departure leaves party facing test". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  7. Viktor, Szary (9 September 2014). "Poland's PM Tusk, heading for Brussels, submits resignation". Reuters. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  8. url=
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Aleks Szczerbiak (2006). "Power without Love? Patterns of Party Politics in Post-1989 Poland". In Susanne Jungerstam-Mulders. Post-Communist EU Member States: Parties and Party Systems. London: Ashgate. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7546-4712-6.
  17. Vít Hloušek; Lubomír Kopeček (2010). Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared. Ashgate. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7546-7840-3. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  18. Igor Guardiancich (2013). Pension Reforms in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe: From Post-Socialist Transition to the Global Financial Crisis. Routledge. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-415-68898-7.
  19. José Magone (2010). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-203-84639-1. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  20. Tomasz Zarycki (2014). Ideologies of Eastness in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-317-81857-1.
  21. David Ost (2011). "The decline of civil society after 'post-communism'". In Ulrike Liebert; Hans-Jörg Trenz. The New Politics of European Civil Society. Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-415-57845-5.
  22. See e.g. the results of the first round of the 2010 presidential election
  23. Czempiński – życie nieznanego tenora, by Sławomir Cenckiewicz, 16 July 2009
  24. CZEMPIŃSKI - co mówił o PLATFORMIE - PiS przypomina: Miał udział w TWORZENIU PO, 23 November 2011
  25. "Przypomnijmy, co Czempiński mówił o powstaniu PO", TVN24, 23 November 2011 "- Nie było łatwo im wytłumaczyć, że mogą nadać nowy impet na scenie politycznej - mówił wówczas o swoich rozmowach z Tuskiem i Olechowskim. Podkreślał, że był tą osobą, która dała początek partii. Jak stwierdził, PO powstała dzięki jego rozmowom z politykami i długim przekonywaniu ich, że teraz jest czas i miejsce na powstanie partii."
  26. Krwawa jatka na salonie by Przemyslaw Harczuk, Katarzyna Pawlak. Gazeta Polska, 30 listopada 2011 "Jednym z liderów ugrupowania był dawny agent Czempińskiego z wywiadu MSW PRL, Andrzej Olechowski. Jak wynika z dokumentów Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, Olechowski, zarejestrowany jako TW Must, miał być kontaktem operacyjnym Czempińskiego"
  27. Czempiński – życie nieznanego tenora, by Sławomir Cenckiewicz, portal
  28. BBC News (2007-10-22): Massive win for Polish opposition
  29. 1 2 3 Warsaw Business Journal
  30. "Elections 2011 - Election results". National Electoral Commission. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  31. "Pkw | Pkw". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  32. "wGospodarce - Gazeta Bankowa". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  33. ""Dziennik Gazeta Prawna" - Biurokracja nie zaciska pasa". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  34. "Rzeczpospolita". 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  35. "ząd podwyższa akcyzę i zamraża płace". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  36. "Rząd zaciska pasa: zamraża pensje, podnosi akcyzę na papierosy i paliwa". 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  37. "Dziś dowiemy się, dlaczego rząd zabierze nam ulgi". 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  38. Sebastian Bobrowski (2014-03-25). "Zmiany w odliczaniu VAT od samochodów. Sprawdź ile i kiedy możesz odliczyć". Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  39. "Głosowanie nad przyjęciem w całości projektu ustawy o zmianie niektórych ustaw związanych z realizacją ustawy budżetowej, w brzmieniu proponowanym przez Komisję Finansów Publicznych, wraz z przyjętymi poprawkami". 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2014-08-31.


External links

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