Civic Platform

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Civic Platform

Platforma Obywatelska
Chairman Borys Budka
General Secretary Marcin Kierwiński
Parliamentary Leader Cezary Tomczyk (KO club)
SpokespersonJan Grabiec
Founded24 January 2001 (2001-01-24)
Split from
Headquartersul. Wiejska 12A, 00-490 Warsaw
Youth wing Young Democrats Association  [ pl ]
Membership (2018)33,500 [1]
Political position Centre to centre-right [nb 1]
National affiliation Civic Coalition
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours  Orange   Blue
107 / 460
[nb 2]
41 / 100
[nb 3]
European Parliament
14 / 52
Regional assemblies
153 / 552
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Civic Platform (Polish : Platforma Obywatelska, PO) [nb 4] is a centre [2] to centre-right [3] [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 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.


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 2001 general election the party secured 12.6% of the vote and 65 deputies in the Sejm, making it the largest opposition party to the government led by the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).

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 [5] 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. [6]

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. [6]

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. [6]

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. [7]

In the 2014 European elections, Civic Platform came first place nationally, achieving 32.13% of the vote and returning 19 MEPs. [8]

In the 2014 local elections, PO achieved 179 seats, the highest single number. [9]

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%. [10]

In the 2015 parliamentary election, PO came second place after PiS, achieving 39.18% of the popular vote, 138 out of 460 seats in the Sejm, 34 out of 100 seats in the Senate. [11]

In the 2018 local elections, PO achieved 26.97% of the votes, coming second after PiS. [12]

In the 2019 European elections, PO participated in the European Coalition electoral alliance which achieved 38.47%, coming second after PiS. [13]


As a centrist [2] or centre-right [3] [nb 1] political party, Civic Platform has been described as liberal-conservative, [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] liberal, [20] [21] [22] conservative-liberal, [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] Christian-democratic, [28] conservative, [29] neoliberal, [29] social-liberal [30] and pro-European. [31]

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, [32] which it had opposed while in government. [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 oil. [35] [36] The party has eliminated many tax exemptions. [37] [38] [39]

In response to the climate crisis, the Civic Platform has promised to end the use of coal for energy in Poland by 2040. [40]

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 the social programmes of PiS and PSL, starting to support them. [41] [42] [43]

Political support

Civic Platform's support is concentrated in the west and north of the country. Areas voting for Bronislaw Komorowski in 2010 are shaded orange above. Prasidentschaftswahl Polen 2010 Runde 1.svg
Civic Platform's support is concentrated in the west and north of the country. Areas voting for Bronisław Komorowski in 2010 are shaded orange above.

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 Plazynski 2.jpg Maciej Płażyński 18 October 2001–
1 June 2003
2. Donald Tusk 2019.jpg Donald Tusk 1 June 2003–
8 November 2014
3. Ewa Kopacz debata z Szydlo (19.10.2015).jpg Ewa Kopacz 8 November 2014–
26 January 2016
4. Grzegorz Schetyna Sejm 2019.jpg Grzegorz Schetyna 26 January 2016–
29 January 2020
5. Borys Budka Sejm 2016.JPG Borys Budka since 29 January 2020

Election results


Election yearLeader# of
 % of
# of
overall seats won
2001 Maciej Płażyński 1,651,09912.7 (#2)
65 / 460
SLDUP Minority
2005 Donald Tusk 2,849,25924.1 (#2)
133 / 460
Increase2.svg 68 PiS Minority
2007 Donald Tusk 6,701,01041.5 (#1)
209 / 460
Increase2.svg 76PO–PSL
2011 Donald Tusk 5,629,77339.2 (#1)
207 / 460
Decrease2.svg 2PO–PSL
2015 Ewa Kopacz 3,661,47424.1 (#2)
138 / 460
Decrease2.svg 69 PiS
2019 Grzegorz Schetyna 5,060,35527.4 (#2)
119 / 460
Decrease2.svg 19 PiS
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
Increase2.svg 32
60 / 100
Increase2.svg 26
63 / 100
Increase2.svg 3
34 / 100
Decrease2.svg 29
43 / 100
Increase2.svg 9


Election yearCandidate1st round2nd round
# of overall votes % of overall vote# of overall votes % of overall vote
2005 Donald Tusk 5,429,66636.3 (#1)7,022,31946.0 (#2)
2010 Bronisław Komorowski 6,981,31941.5 (#1)8,933,88753.0 (#1)
2015 Supported Bronisław Komorowski 5,031,06033.8 (#2)8,112,31148.5 (#2)
2020 Rafał Trzaskowski 5,917,34030.5 (#2)10,018,26348.9 (#2)

Regional assemblies

Election year % of
# of
overall seats won
2002 12.1 (#4)
79 / 561
In coalition with Law and Justice (POPiS).
2006 27.2 (#1)
186 / 561
2010 30.9 (#1)
222 / 561
Increase2.svg 36
2014 26.3 (#2)
179 / 555
Decrease2.svg 43
2018 27.1 (#2)
194 / 552
Increase2.svg 15
As a Civic Coalition.

European Parliament

Election year# of
 % of
# of
overall seats won
2004 1,467,77524.1 (#1)
15 / 54
2009 3,271,85244.4 (#1)
25 / 50
Increase2.svg 10
2014 2,271,21532.1 (#1)
19 / 51
Decrease2.svg 6
2019 5,249 93538,47 (#2)
14 / 51
Decrease2.svg 5
As a European Coalition

Voivodeship Marshals

NameImageVoivodeshipDate Vocation
Elżbieta Polak Elzbieta Polak.JPG Lubusz Voivodeship 29 November 2010
Marek Woźniak Marek Wozniak 546.JPG Greater Poland Voivodeship 10 October 2005
Piotr Całbecki Calbecki.JPG Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship 24 January 2006
Olgierd Geblewicz Olgierd Geblewicz fran Parliamentary Forum of the Southern Baltic Sea talar vid BSPC-s mote i Visby 2008-09-01.jpg West Pomeranian Voivodeship 7 December 2010
Mieczysław Struk Mieczyslaw Struk (2010).JPG Pomeranian Voivodeship 22 February 2010
Andrzej Buła Andrzej Bula.jpg Opole Voivodeship 12 November 2013

Notable politicians

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Some sources have described PO as having shifted from the centre-right to the centre. [4]
  2. Electoral coalition, 133 seats in total
  3. Electoral coalition, 42 seats in total
  4. The party is officially the Civic Platform of the Republic of Poland (Platforma Obywatelska Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej).

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