|President||Andrzej Duda |
|Parliamentary Leader||Ryszard Terlecki|
|Founded||13 June 2001|
|Merger of||Centre Agreement|
|Split from||Solidarity Electoral Action|
Christian National Union
|Youth wing||Law and Justice Youth Forum|
|Membership (2020)||more than 40,000|
|National affiliation||United Right|
|European affiliation||European Conservatives and Reformists Party|
|European Parliament group||European Conservatives and Reformists|
|Colours||Navy blue White Red|
Law and Justice (Polish: Prawo i Sprawiedliwo ['prav? i spravj?d'livt?] ; PiS) is a national conservative and right-wing populistpolitical party in Poland. It is a member of the Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists Party at European Union level. With 198 seats in the Polish Sejm and 48 in the Senate, PiS is currently the largest political party in the Polish parliament, and the dominant party of the United Right ruling coalition. The current twenty-five PiS MEPs sit in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament.
The party was founded in 2001 by the Kaczy?ski twins, Lech and Jaros?aw, as a centrist and Christian democratic party. It was formed from part of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), with the Christian democratic Centre Agreement forming the new party's core. The party won the 2005 election, while Lech Kaczy?ski won the presidency. Law and Justice formed a coalition with the Eurosceptic League of Polish Families (LPR) and Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland (SRP). Jaros?aw served as Prime Minister, before calling elections in 2007, in which the party came in second to Civic Platform (PO). In these elections PiS lost most of its moderate electorate but attracted voters from its former coalition members and then turned to nationalism and populism. As a result LPR and SRP lost all their seats and descended into political irrelevancy. Several leading members, including sitting president Lech Kaczy?ski, died in a plane crash in 2010.
During its founding the party was dominated by the Kaczy?skis' conservative and law and order agenda. It has embraced economic interventionism while maintaining a cultural and socially conservative stance that moved towards the Catholic Church in 2005; the party's Catholic nationalist wing split off in 2011 to form Solidary Poland but then formed a joint ballot with PiS before the 2015 elections. After gaining power, PiS gained popularity with transfer payments to families with children, but attracted international criticism and domestic protest movements by dismantling liberal-democratic checks and balances. Political scientists have characterized the party's governance as illiberal or authoritarian.
The party was created on a wave of popularity gained by Lech Kaczy?ski while heading the Polish Ministry of Justice (June 2000 to July 2001) in the AWS-led government, although local committees began appearing from 22 March 2001. The AWS itself was created from a diverse array of many small political parties. In the 2001 general election, PiS gained 44 (of 460) seats in the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) with 9.5% of votes. In 2002, Lech Kaczy?ski was elected mayor of Warsaw. He handed the party leadership to his twin brother in 2003.
In the 2005 general election, PiS took first place with 27.0% of votes, which gave it 155 out of 460 seats in the Sejm and 49 out of 100 seats in the Senate. It was almost universally expected that the two largest parties, PiS and Civic Platform (PO), would form a coalition government. The putative coalition parties had a falling out, however, related to a fierce contest for the Polish presidency. In the end, Lech Kaczy?ski won the second round of the presidential election on 23 October 2005 with 54.0% of the vote, ahead of Donald Tusk, the PO candidate.
After the 2005 elections, Jaros?aw should have become Prime Minister. However, in order to improve his brother's chances of winning the presidential election (the first round of which was scheduled two weeks after the parliamentary election), PiS formed a minority government headed by Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as prime minister, an arrangement that eventually turned out to be unworkable. In July 2006, PiS formed a right-wing coalition government with the agrarian populist Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland and the nationalist League of Polish Families, headed by Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski. Association with these parties, on the margins of Polish politics, severely affected the reputation of PiS. When accusations of corruption and sexual harassment against Andrzej Lepper, the leader of Self-Defence, surfaced, PiS chose to end the coalition and called for new elections.
In the 2007 general election, PiS managed to secure 32.1% of votes. Although an improvement over its showing from 2005, the results were nevertheless a defeat for the party, as Civic Platform (PO) gathered 41.5%. The party won 166 out of 460 seats in the Sejm and 39 seats in Poland's Senate.
On 10 April 2010, its former leader Lech Kaczy?ski died in the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash. Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski becomes the sole leader of the party. He was the presidential candidate in the 2010 elections.
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The party won the 2015 parliamentary election, this time with an outright majority--something no Polish party had done since the fall of communism. In the normal course of events, this should have made Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski prime minister for a second time. However, Beata Szyd?o, perceived as being somewhat more moderate than Kaczy?ski, had been tapped as PiS's candidate for prime minister.
The party opposes liberal democracy seeing itself as inspired by Jozef Pilsudski's authoritarian Sanacja government. It supported controversial reforms carried out by the Hungarian Fidesz party, with Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski declaring in 2011 that "a day will come when we have a Budapest in Warsaw". PiS's 2015 victory prompted creation of a cross-party opposition movement, the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD). Law and Justice has Proposed 2017 judicial reforms, which according to the party were meant to improve efficiency of the justice system, sparked protest as they were seen as undermining judicial independence. While these reforms were initially unexpectedly vetoed by President Duda, he later signed them into law.European Council president Donald Tusk warned that the bill might push Poland out of the EU. In 2017, the European Union began an Article 7 infringement procedure against Poland due to a "clear risk of a serious breach" in the rule of law and fundamental values of the European Union.
The party has caused what constitutional law scholar Wojciech Sadurski termed a "constitutional breakdown" by packing the Constitutional Court with its supporters, undermining parliamentary procedure, and reducing the president's and prime minister's offices in favor of power being wielded extra-constitutionally by party leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski. After eliminating constitutional checks, the government then moved to curtail the activities of NGOs and independent media, restrict freedom of speech and assembly, and reduce the qualifications required for civil service jobs in order to fill these positions with party loyalists. The media law was changed to give the governing party control of the state media, which was turned into a partisan outlet, with dissenting journalists fired from their jobs. Due to these political changes, Poland has been termed an "illiberal democracy", "plebiscitarian authoritarianism", or "velvet dictatorship with a façade of democracy".
The party won reelection in the 2019 parliamentary election. With 44% of the popular vote, Law and Justice received the highest vote share by any party since Poland returned to democracy in 1989, but lost its majority in the Senate.
In January 2010, a breakaway faction led by Jerzy Polaczek split from the party to form Poland Plus. Its seven members of the Sejm came from the centrist, economically liberal wing of the party. On 24 September 2010, the group was disbanded, with most of its Sejm members, including Polaczek, returning to Law and Justice.
On 16 November 2010, MPs Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, El?bieta Jakubiak and Pawe? Poncyljusz, and MEPs Adam Bielan and Micha? Kami?ski formed a new political group, Poland Comes First (Polska jest Najwa?niejsza). Kami?ski said that the Law and Justice party had been taken over by far-right extremists. The breakaway party formed following dissatisfaction with the direction and leadership of Kaczy?ski.
On 4 November 2011, MEPs Zbigniew Ziobro, Jacek Kurski, and Tadeusz Cyma?ski were ejected from the party, after Ziobro urged the party to split further into two separate parties - centrist and nationalist - with the three representing the nationalist faction. Ziobro's supporters, most of whom on the right-wing of the party, formed a new group in Parliament called Solidary Poland, leading to their expulsion, too. United Poland was formed as a formally separate party in March 2012, but has not threatened Law and Justice in opinion polls.
Like Civic Platform, but unlike the fringe parties to the right, Law and Justice originated from the anti-communist Solidarity trade union (which is a major cleavage in Polish politics), which was not a theocratic organisation. Solidarity's leadership wanted to back Law and Justice in 2005, but was held back by the union's last experience of party politics, in backing Solidarity Electoral Action.
Today, the party enjoys great support among working class constituencies and union members. Groups that vote for the party include miners, farmers, shopkeepers, unskilled workers, the unemployed, and pensioners. With its left-wing approach toward economics, the party attracts voters who feel that economic liberalisation and European integration have left them behind. The party's core support derives from older, religious people who value conservatism and patriotism. PiS voters are usually located in rural areas and small towns. The strongest region of support is the southeastern part of the country. Voters without a university degree tend to prefer the party more than college-educated voters do.
Regionally, it has more support in regions of Poland that were historically part of western Galicia-Lodomeria and Congress Poland. Since 2015, the borders of support are not as clear as before and party enjoys support in western parts of country, especially these deprived ones. Large cities in all regions are more likely to vote for more liberal party like PO or .N. Still PiS receives good support from poor and working class areas in large cities.
Based on this voter profile, Law and Justice forms the core of the conservative post-Solidarity bloc, along with the League of Polish Families and Solidarity Electoral Action, as opposed to liberal conservative post-Solidarity bloc of Civic Platform. The most prominent feature of PiS voters was their emphasis on decommunisation.
This section needs to be updated.October 2020)(
Initially, the party was broadly pro-market, although less so than the Civic Platform. It has adopted the social market economy rhetoric similar to that of western European Christian democratic parties. In the 2005 election, the party shifted to the protectionist left on economics. As Prime Minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz was more economically liberal than the Kaczy?skis, advocating a position closer to Civic Platform.
On foreign policy, PiS is Atlanticist and less supportive of European integration than Civic Platform. The party is soft eurosceptic and opposes a federal Europe. In its campaigns, it emphasises that the European Union should "benefit Poland and not the other way around". It is a member of the anti-federalist European Conservatives and Reformists Party, having previously been a part of the Alliance for Europe of the Nations and, before that, the European People's Party.
The party supports a state-guaranteed minimum social safety net and state intervention in the economy within market economy bounds. During the 2015 election campaign, it proposed tax decrease to two personal tax rates (18% and 32%) and tax rebates related to the number of children in a family, as well as a reduction of the VAT rate (while keeping a variation between individual types of VAT rates). 18% and 32% tax rates were eventually implemented. Also: a continuation of privatization with the exclusion of several dozen state companies deemed to be of strategic importance for the country. PiS opposes cutting social welfare spending, and also proposed the introduction of a system of state-guaranteed housing loans. PiS supports state provided universal health care.
PiS has presented a project for constitutional reform including, among others: allowing the president the right to pass laws by decree (when prompted to do so by the Cabinet), a reduction of the number of members of the Sejm and Senat, and removal of constitutional bodies overseeing the media and monetary policy. PiS advocates increased criminal penalties. It postulates aggressive anti-corruption measures (including creation of an Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), open disclosure of the assets of politicians and important public servants), as well as broad and various measures to smooth the working of public institutions.
PiS is a strong supporter of lustration (lustracja), a verification system created ostensibly to combat the influence of the Communist era security apparatus in Polish society. While current lustration laws require the verification of those who serve in public offices, PiS wants to expand the process to include university professors, lawyers, journalists, managers of large companies, and others performing "public functions". Those found to have collaborated with the security service, according to the party, should be forbidden to practice in their professions.
The party is in favour of strengthening the Polish Army through diminishing bureaucracy and raising military expenditures, especially for modernization of army equipment. PiS planned to introduce a fully professional army and end conscription by 2012 (in August 2008, compulsory military service was abolished in Poland). It is also in favor of participation of Poland in foreign military missions led by the United Nations, NATO and United States, in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.
The party supports integration with the European Union on terms beneficial for Poland. It supports economic integration and tightening the cooperation in areas of energetic security and military, but is skeptical about closer political integration. It is against formation of European superstate or federation. PiS is in favor of strong political and military alliance of Poland with the United States.
In the European Parliament it is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists, a group founded in 2009 to challenge the prevailing pro-federalist ethos of the European Parliament and address the perceived democratic deficit existing at a European level.
The party's views on social issues are much more traditionalist than those of social conservative parties in other European countries.
The party strongly promotes itself as a pro-family party and encourages married couples to have more children. Prior to 2005 elections, it promised to build 3 million inexpensive housing units as a way to help young couples start a family. Once in government, it passed legislation lengthening parental leaves.
In 2017, the PiS government commenced the so-called "500+" programme under which all parents residing in Poland receive an unconditional monthly payment of 500 PLN for each second and subsequent child (the 500 PLN support for the first child being linked to income). It also revived the idea of a housing programme based on state-supported construction of inexpensive housing units.
Also in 2017, the party's MPs passed a law that bans most retail trade on Sundays so that workers can spend more time with their families.
The party is anti-abortion and supports Poland's abortion laws which are more regulated than other countries in the European Union. PiS additionally opposes abortion resulting from foetal defects which is currently allowed until specific foetal age. Despite that PiS has not changed the abortion law in this regard.
Also in April 2018, parents of disabled adults who required long-term care protested in Sejm over what they considered inadequate state support, in particular, the reduction of support once the child turns 18. As a result, the monthly disability benefit for adults was raised by approx. 15 percent to PLN 1,000 (approx. EUR 240) and certain non-cash benefits were instituted, although protesters' demands of an additional monthly cash benefit were rejected.
The party opposes LGBT rights, in particular same-sex marriages and any other form of legal recognition of same-sex couples. In 2020, Poland was ranked the lowest of any European Union country for LGBT rights by ILGA-Europe. The organization also highlighted instances of anti-LGBT rhetoric and hate speech by politicians of the ruling party. A 2019 survey by Eurobarometer found that more than two-thirds of LGBT people in Poland believe that prejudice against them has risen in the last five years.
On 21 September 2005, PiS leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski said that "homosexuals should not be isolated, however they should not be school teachers for example. Active homosexuals surely not, in any case", but that homosexuals "should not be discriminated otherwise". He has also stated, "The affirmation of homosexuality will lead to the downfall of civilization. We can't agree to it". Lech Kaczynski, while mayor of Warsaw, refused authorization for a gay pride march; declaring that it would be obscene and offensive to other people's religious beliefs. He stated, "I am not willing to meet perverts." In B?czkowski and Others v. Poland, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled that the ban of the parade violated Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The judgement stated that "The positive obligation of a State to secure genuine and effective respect for freedom of association and assembly was of particular importance to those with unpopular views or belonging to minorities".
In 2016 Beata Szyd?o's government disbanded the Council for the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance, an advisory body set up in 2011 by then-Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The council monitored, advised and coordinated government action against racism, discrimination and hate crime.
Many local towns, cities, and Voivodeship sejmiks comprising a third of Poland's territory have declared their respective regions as LGBT-free zones with the encouragement of the ruling PiS. Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was the Law and Justice party's candidate for presidency in 2015 and 2020, stated that "LGBT is not people, it's an ideology which is worse than Communism." During his 2020 successful election campaign, he pledged he would ban teaching about LGBT issues in schools and he proposed changing the constitution to ban LGBT couples from adopting children.
Academic research has characterized Law and Justice as a nationalist party, but PiS's leadership rejects this label.[a] Both Kaczy?skis look up for inspirations to the pre-war Sanacja movement with its leader Józef Pi?sudski, in contrast to the nationalist Endecja that was led by Pi?sudski's political archrival, Roman Dmowski. However, parts of the party, especially the faction around Radio Maryja, are inspired by Dmowski's movement. Polish far-right organizations and parties such as National Revival of Poland, National Movement and Autonomous Nationalists regularly criticize PiS's relative ideological moderation and its politicians for "monopolizing" official political scene by playing on the popular patriotic and religious feelings.[better source needed] However, the party does include several overtly nationalist politicians in senior positions, such as Digital Affairs Minister Adam Andruszkiewicz, the former leader of the All-Polish Youth; and deputy PiS leader and former Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, the founder of the National-Catholic Movement.
PiS opposed the quota system for mass relocation of immigrants proposed by the European Commission to address the 2015 European migrant crisis. This contrasted with the stance of their main political opponents, the Civic Platform, which have signed up to the Commission's proposal. Consequently, in the campaign leading to the 2015 Polish parliamentary election, PiS adopted the discourse typical of the populist-right, linking national security with immigration. Following the election, PiS sometimes utilised Islamophobic rhetoric to rally its supporters.
Examples of anti-migration and anti-Islam comments by PiS politicians when discussing the European migrant crisis: in 2015, Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski stated that Poland "can't" accept any refugees because "they could spread infectious diseases." In 2017, the first Deputy Minister of Justice Patryk Jaki stated that "stopping Islamization is his Westerplatte". In 2017, Interior minister of Poland Mariusz B?aszczak stated that he would like to be called "Charles the Hammer who stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe in the 8th century". In 2017, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Joachim Brudzi?ski stated during the pro-party rally in Siedlce; "if not for us (PiS), they (Muslims) would have built mosques in here (Poland)."
The most influential, although not the most numerous, group within PiS is unofficially named "Order of the Centre Agreement". It is led by leader is Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, and its main members are Joachim Brudzi?ski, Adam Lipi?ski and Mariusz B?aszczak.
The second major group is a radical, religious and hard Eurosceptic right-wing faction focused around Antoni Macierewicz, Beata Szyd?o and the United Poland party of Zbigniew Ziobro. This faction opts for radical reforms and is supported by Jacek Kurski and Tadeusz Rydzyk.
The third major group is a Christian-democratic, republican and conservative-liberal faction focused around Mateusz Morawiecki, ?ukasz Szumowski, Jacek Czaputowicz and the Agreement party of Jaros?aw Gowin. Although not officially a party member, Polish president Andrzej Duda can also be placed in this faction.
'Vice Presidents' :
'Party discipline spokesman' :
'Chairman of the Executive Committee' :
'President of the Parliamentary Club' :
|1.||Lech Kaczy?ski||13 June 2001-|
18 January 2003
|2.||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||18 January 2003 |
|Election year||Leader||# of
overall seats won
|2001||Lech Kaczy?ski||1,236,787||9.5 (#4)||SLD- UP-PSL|
|SLD- UP Minority|
|2005||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||3,185,714||27.0 (#1)||111||PiS-SRP-LPR|
|2007||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||5,183,477||32.1 (#2)||11||PO-PSL|
|2011||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||4,295,016||29.9 (#2)||9||PO-PSL|
|2015||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||5,711,687||37.6 (#1)||60||PiS|
|As a part of the United Right coalition, which won 235 seats in total.|
|2019||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||8,051,935||43.6 (#1)||18||PiS|
|As a part of the United Right coalition, which won 235 seats in total.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
|As part of the Senate 2001 coalition, which won 15 seats.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
*Currently 16: Zdzis?aw Krasnod?bski is elected from the PiS register, but not a member of the party, Miros?aw Piotrowski left PiS (08.10.2014), Marek Jurek is a member of Right Wing of the Republic.
|Election year||Candidate||1st round||2nd round|
|# of overall votes||% of overall vote||# of overall votes||% of overall vote|
|2005||Lech Kaczy?ski||4,947,927||33.1 (#2)||8,257,468||54.0 (#1)|
|2010||Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||6,128,255||36.5 (#2)||7,919,134||47.0 (#2)|
|2015||Andrzej Duda||5,179,092||34.8 (#1)||8,719,281||51.5 (#1)|
|2020||Supported Andrzej Duda||8,450,513||43.50 (#1)||10,440,648||51.03% (#1)|
|Election year||% of
overall seats won
|In coalition with Civic Platform as POPiS.|
|Election year||% of
overall seats won
|Lech Kaczy?ski||23 December 2005||10 April 2010|
|Andrzej Duda||6 August 2015||incumbent|
|Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz||31 October 2005||14 July 2006|
|Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski||14 July 2006||16 November 2007|
|Beata Szyd?o||16 November 2015||11 December 2017|
|Mateusz Morawiecki||11 December 2017||incumbent|
|Grzegorz Schreiber||?ód? Voivodeship||22 November 2018|
|Jaros?aw Stawiarski||Lublin Voivodeship||21 November 2018|
|W?adys?aw Ortyl||Podkarpackie Voivodeship||27 May 2013|
|Jakub Che?stowski||Silesian Voivodeship||21 November 2018|
|Andrzej B?tkowski||?wi?tokrzyskie Voivodeship||22 November 2018|
|Witold Koz?owski||Lesser Poland Voivodeship||19 November 2018|
|Artur Kosicki||Podlaskie Voivodeship||11 December 2018|
The 2015 victory of Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) party is an example of the rise of contemporary authoritarian populism... the PiS gained a parliamentary absolute majority; it has since drawn on this majority to dismantle democratic checks and balances. The PiS's policies have led to intensifying xenophobia, aggressive nationalism, and unprecedented polarisation that have engendered deep splits within Polish society and have given rise to social protest movements not seen in Poland since 1989.
Lacking the two-thirds of majority needed to change the constitution outright, as Hungary's government had done several years earlier, PiS sought to accomplish the same goal through ordinary legislation. When the Constitutional Tribunal objected, its rulings were ignored until it could be packed with government supporters, some of whom were sworn in by the president--a strong partisan of PiS himself, who made no effort to stand in the government's way--in a rushed, middle-of-the-night ceremony. The national legislature was likewise turned into a rubber-stamp body through routine side-stepping of parliamentary procedure.
On January 7, 2016, the amendment of the Radio and Television Act of December 29, 1992 was signed into law, enabling the conservative government to control the state media.; "Poland". RSF. Reporters without borders. Retrieved 2020.
Partisan discourse and hate speech are still the rule within state-owned media, which have been transformed into government propaganda mouthpieces. Their new directors tolerate neither opposition nor neutrality from employees and fire those who refuse to comply.; Surowiec, Pawe?; Kania-Lundholm, Magdalena; Winiarska-Brodowska, Ma?gorzata (2020). "Towards illiberal conditioning? New politics of media regulations in Poland (2015-2018)". East European Politics. 36 (1): 27-43. doi:10.1080/21599165.2019.1608826. S2CID 164430720.