|General Secretary||Marcin Kierwi?ski|
|Parliamentary Leader||Borys Budka (KO club)|
|Founded||24 January 2001|
|Headquarters||ul. Wiejska 12A, 00-490 Warsaw|
|Youth wing||Young Democrats Association|
|Political position||[nb 1]|
|National affiliation||Civic Coalition|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO)[nb 4] is a centre to centre-right[nb 1] political party in Poland. Since its creation, the party has shown strong electoral performances in the City of Warsaw, the west, and the north of 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 Bronis?aw 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 P?a?y?ski, 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, Bronis?aw Komorowski became the first President from PO in the 2010 presidential election.
The Civic Platform was founded in 2001 as economically liberal, Christian-democratic split from existing parties. Founders Andrzej Olechowski, Maciej P?a?y?ski, and Donald Tusk were sometimes jokingly called "the Three Tenors" by Polish media and commentators. Olechowski and P?a?y?ski 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 Kaczy?ski (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 Kaczy?ski, Tusk decided not to present his candidature, considered an easy possible victory over PiS leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski. During the PO primary elections, Bronis?aw Komorowski defeated the Oxford-educated, PiS defector Foreign Minister Rados?aw Sikorski. At the polls, Komorowski defeated Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, 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 Bronis?aw 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[nb 1] political party, Civic Platform has been described as liberal-conservative, conservative-liberal, 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. The party also currently supports liberalisation of the abortion law, which it had opposed while in government.
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 Rafa? Trzaskowski. The party has also changed its opinion about the social programmes of PiS and PSL, starting to support them.
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.
|1.||Maciej P?a?y?ski||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||29 January 2020-|
3 July 2021
|6.||Donald Tusk||3 July 2021|
|Election year||Leader||# of
overall seats won
|2001||Maciej P?a?y?ski||1,651,099||12.7 (#2)||SLD-UP-PSL (2001-2003)|
|2005||Donald Tusk||2,849,259||24.1 (#2)||68||PiS Minority (2005)|
|2007||Donald Tusk||6,701,010||41.5 (#1)||76||PO-PSL|
|2011||Donald Tusk||5,629,773||39.2 (#1)||2||PO-PSL|
|2015||Ewa Kopacz||3,661,474||24.1 (#2)||69||PiS|
|2019||Grzegorz Schetyna||5,060,355||27.4 (#2)||19||PiS|
|As part of Civic Coalition, which won 134 seats in total.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
|As part of the Senate 2001 coalition, which won 15 seats.|
|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||Bronis?aw Komorowski||6,981,319||41.5 (#1)||8,933,887||53.0 (#1)|
|2015||Supported Bronis?aw Komorowski||5,031,060||33.8 (#2)||8,112,311||48.5 (#2)|
|2020||Rafa? Trzaskowski||5,917,340||30.5 (#2)||10,018,263||48.9 (#2)|
|Election year||% of
overall seats won
|In coalition with Law and Justice (POPiS).|
|As a Civic Coalition.|
|Election year||# of
overall seats won
|2019||5,249 935||38,47 (#2)||5|
|As a European Coalition|
|El?bieta Polak||Lubusz Voivodeship||29 November 2010|
|Marek Wo?niak||Greater Poland Voivodeship||10 October 2005|
|Piotr Ca?becki||Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship||24 January 2006|
|Olgierd Geblewicz||West Pomeranian Voivodeship||7 December 2010|
|Mieczys?aw Struk||Pomeranian Voivodeship||22 February 2010|
|Andrzej Bu?a||Opole Voivodeship||12 November 2013|
As discussed below, under Mr Tusk's leadership, Civic Platform turned from being a centre-right liberal-conservative party into an ideologically eclectic centrist grouping...