Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO)[nb 3] is a centre to centre-right 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 16 November 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 40 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 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.
|General Secretary||Marcin Kierwiński|
|Parliamentary Leader||Cezary Tomczyk (KO club)|
|Founded||24 January 2001|
|Split from||Solidarity Electoral Action|
Conservative People's Party
|Headquarters||ul. Wiejska 12A, 00-490 Warsaw|
|Youth wing||Young Democrats Association|
|Political position||Centre to centre‑right|
|National affiliation||Civic Coalition|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
110 / 460[nb 1]
41 / 100[nb 2]
14 / 52
153 / 552
Since its creation, the party has shown stronger electoral performances in the City of Warsaw, the west, and the north of Poland.
The Civic Platform was founded in 2001 as economically liberal, Christian-democratic 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 the 2002 local elections PO stood together with Law and Justice in 15 voivodeships (in 14 as POPiS, in Podkarpacie with another centre-right political parties). They stood separately only in Mazovia.
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 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 2010 Polish presidential election, 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.
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.
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.
In the 2015 presidential election, PO endorsed Bronisław Komorowski, a former member of PO from 2001 till 2010. He lost the election receiving 48.5% of the popular vote, while Andrzej Duda won with 51.5%.
As a centrist or centre-right political party, Civic Platform has been described as liberal-conservative, liberal, conservative-liberal, Christian-democratic, conservative, neoliberal, social-liberal and pro-European.
Since 2007, when Civic Platform formed the government, the party has gradually moved from its Christian-democratic stances, and many of its politicians hold more liberal positions on social issues. In 2013, the Civic Platform's government introduced public funding of in vitro fertilisation program. Civic Platform also supports civil unions for same-sex couples but is against same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples.
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. It has also increased the excise imposed on diesel oil, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and oil. The party has eliminated many tax exemptions.
After becoming the biggest opposition party, the Civic Platform became more socially liberal. This tendency is especially popular among the younger generation of party's politicians such as Mayor of Warsaw and candidate in the presidential election Rafał Trzaskowski. The party has also changed its opinion about social programmes of PiS and PSL, starting to support them.
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Today, Civic Platform enjoys support amongst higher class constituencies. Professionals, academics, managers and businessmen vote for the party in large numbers. People with university degrees support the party more than less educated voters. PO voters tend to be those people who generally benefited from European integration and economic liberalisation since 1989 and are satisfied with their life standard. Many PO voters are social liberals who value environmentalism, secularism and Europeanisation. Young people are another voting bloc that support the party, though some of them withdrawed support after their economic and social situation did not improve significantly when PO was in government. Conservatives used to vote for the party before PO moved sharply to the left on economic (e.g., increase of taxes) and social issues (e.g., support for civil unions).
Areas that are more likely to vote for PO are in the west and north of the country, especially parts of the former Prussia before 1918. Many of these people previously used to vote for the Democratic Left Alliance when that party enjoyed support and influence. Large cities in the whole country prefer the party, rather than rural areas and smaller towns. This is caused by the diversity, secularism and social liberalism urban voters tend to value. In urban areas, conservative principles are much less identified with by voters. Large cities in Poland have a better economic climate, which draws support to PO. Areas with higher concentration of minorities, such as Germans or Belarusians, support the party due to its smaller emphasis on patriotism and national conservatism.
|1.||Maciej Płażyński||18 October 2001–|
1 June 2003
|2.||Donald Tusk||1 June 2003–|
8 November 2014
|3.||Ewa Kopacz||8 November 2014–|
26 January 2016
|4.||Grzegorz Schetyna||26 January 2016–|
29 January 2020
|5.||Borys Budka||since 29 January 2020|
|Election year||Leader||# of
overall seats won
|2001||Maciej Płażyński||1,651,099||12.7 (#2)||
65 / 460
|2005||Donald Tusk||2,849,259||24.1 (#2)||
133 / 460
|2007||Donald Tusk||6,701,010||41.5 (#1)||
209 / 460
|2011||Donald Tusk||5,629,773||39.2 (#1)||
207 / 460
|2015||Ewa Kopacz||3,661,474||24.1 (#2)||
138 / 460
|2019||Grzegorz Schetyna||5,060,355||27.4 (#2)||
119 / 460
|As part of Civic Coalition, which won 134 seats in total.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
2 / 100
|As part of the Senate 2001 coalition, which won 15 seats.|
34 / 100
60 / 100
63 / 100
34 / 100
43 / 100
|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)|
|2020||Rafał Trzaskowski||5,917,340||30.5 (#2)||10,018,263||48.9 (#2)|
|Election year||% of
overall seats won
79 / 561
|In coalition with Law and Justice (POPiS).|
186 / 561
222 / 561
179 / 555
194 / 552
|As a Civic Coalition.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
15 / 54
25 / 50
19 / 51
|2019||5,249 935||38,47 (#2)||
14 / 51
|As a European Coalition|
|Elżbieta Polak||Lubusz Voivodeship||29 November 2010|
|Marek Woźniak||Greater Poland Voivodeship||10 October 2005|
|Piotr Całbecki||Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship||24 January 2006|
|Olgierd Geblewicz||West Pomeranian Voivodeship||7 December 2010|
|Mieczysław Struk||Pomeranian Voivodeship||22 February 2010|
|Andrzej Buła||Opole Voivodeship||12 November 2013|
- Electoral coalition, 133 seats in total
- Electoral coalition, 42 seats in total
- The party is officially the Civic Platform of the Republic of Poland (Platforma Obywatelska Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej).
- "Wniosek o udostępnienie informacji publicznej". Imgur. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- PO has often been described as centrist:
- Szczerbiak, Aleks (2017). "An anti-establishment backlash that shook up the party system? The October 2015 Polish parliamentary election" (PDF). European Politics and Society. 18 (4): 404–427. doi:10.1080/23745118.2016.1256027. S2CID 157951515.
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- Siemsen, Pascal (2020). "Voting PiS: Voting Left when Voting Far-Right Populist?". Polish Political Science Review. 8 (1): 87–99. doi:10.2478/ppsr-2020-0006.
- PO has often been described as centre-right:
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- BBC News (2007-10-22): Massive win for Polish opposition
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- "Oficjalne wyniki wyborów samorządowych. Zobacz, kto wygrał". TVN24.pl. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
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- Hanley, Seán; Szczerbiak, Aleks; Haughton, Tim; Fowler, Brigid (July 2008). "Explaining Comparative Centre-Right Party Success in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). Party Politics. 14 (4): 407–434. doi:10.1177/1354068808090253. S2CID 16727049.
- 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. S2CID 154971163.
- Igor Guardiancich (2013). Pension Reforms in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe: From Post-Socialist Transition to the Global Financial Crisis. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-415-68898-7.
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- Paul Kubicek (2017). European Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-317-20638-5.
- Tomasz Zarycki (2014). Ideologies of Eastness in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-317-81857-1.
- Florian Kellermann (4 February 2019). "Frühling" macht der linken Mitte Hoffnung. Deutschlandfunk.
- Slomp, Hans (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 549. ISBN 9780313391828. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
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- Joanna A. Gorska (2012). Dealing with a Juggernaut: Analyzing Poland's Policy toward Russia, 1989-2009. Lexington Books. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-7391-4534-0.
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- "Explainer: Whatever happened to Polish liberal conservatives?". Polandin.
- Ingo Peters (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.
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- "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". sejm.gov.pl. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
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- "Program Partii Platforma Obywatelska".
- "Partie i kandydaci".
- Official website (in Polish)