List of heads of state of Poland

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This list concerns the Polish heads of state since World War I. For a list of historical monarchs of Poland from the Middle Ages to 1795 and 19th and early 20th century claimants to the Polish throne see List of Polish monarchs.

Contents

Republic of Poland (1918–1939)

Chief of State

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Jozef Pilsudski1.jpg Józef Piłsudski
(1867–1935)
14 November 191811 December 1922 Independent Provisional Chief of State until 1918.

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Portret Narutowicz (cropped).jpg Gabriel Narutowicz
(1865–1922)
11 December 192216 December 1922
(Died in office)
Independent
supported by
Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie"
Assassinated.
Rataj.jpg Maciej Rataj
(1884–1940)
Acting President
16 December 192222 December 1922 Polish People's Party "Piast" Marshal of the Sejm.
Stanislaw Wojciechowski portrait.jpg Stanisław Wojciechowski
(1869–1953)
22 December 192214 May 1926
(Deposed)
Polish People's Party "Piast" Deposed in the May Coup by Marshal Piłsudski.
Rataj.jpg Maciej Rataj
(1884–1940)
Acting President
14 May 19264 June 1926 Polish People's Party "Piast" Marshal of the Sejm.
Ignacy Moscicki.jpg Ignacy Mościcki
(1867–1946)
4 June 192630 September 1939 Sanation Mościcki's government was exiled to Romania after Poland's defeat in World War II after 17 September.

Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile (1939–1990)

After the German conquest of Poland, a Polish government-in-exile was formed under the protection of France and Britain. The President of the Republic and the government-in-exile were recognized by the United Kingdom and, later, by the United States until 6 July 1945, when the Western Allies accepted the Communist-led government backed by Stalin. Despite having lost recognition by other governments, the government-in-exile continued in London until the election of Lech Wałęsa as President of the Republic of Poland in December 1990 - when it handed over its formal powers and the insignia of the Polish Second Republic to President-elect Walesa in a ceremony at the Warsaw Royal Castle on 22 December 1990.

Lech Wałęsa Polish politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former President of Poland

Lech Wałęsa is a Polish retired politician and labour activist. He co-founded and headed Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.

The sole internationally recognized President of the exiled government was Władysław Raczkiewicz, who took office after Ignacy Mościcki's resignation in September 1939.

Władysław Raczkiewicz President of Poland

Władysław Raczkiewicz was a Polish politician, lawyer, diplomat and the first president of the Polish government-in-exile from 1939 until his death in 1947. Until 1945 he was the internationally recognized Polish head of state, and the Polish Government in Exile was recognized as the continuum to the Polish government of 1939.

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz 1930.jpg Władysław Raczkiewicz
(1885–1947)
30 September 19396 June 1947
(Died in office)
Independent Raczkiewicz's government lost recognition by the Western allies on 6 July 1945.
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11032, August Zaleski.jpg August Zaleski
(1883–1972)
9 June 19477 April 1972
(Died in office)
Independent From 1954 onwards, opposed by the Rada Trzech (Council of Three).
Stanislaw Ostrowski.gif Stanisław Ostrowski
(1892–1982)
9 April 197224 March 1979 Independent
Edward Bernard Raczynski.jpg Edward Raczyński
(1891–1993)
8 April 19798 April 1986 Independent
Sabbat.jpg Kazimierz Sabbat
(1913–1989)
8 April 198619 July 1989
(Died in office)
Independent
Ryszard Kaczorowski 2008.JPG Ryszard Kaczorowski
(1919–2010)
19 July 198922 December 1990 Independent Kaczorowski resigned on 22 December 1990, upon the election of Lech Wałęsa as President of the Republic of Poland.

People's Republic of Poland (1944–1989)

The People's Republic of Poland was founded under Soviet protection on 31 December 1944 and recognized by the United States and the United Kingdom since 6 July 1945.

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
PL Boleslaw Bierut (1892-1956).jpg Bolesław Bierut
(1892–1956)
31 December 19445 February 1947 Polish Workers' Party

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
PL Boleslaw Bierut (1892-1956).jpg Bolesław Bierut
(1892–1956)
5 February 194720 November 1952 Polish Workers' Party /
Polish United Workers' Party
From December 1948, also Secretary General of the Polish United Workers' Party.

Chairman of the Council of State

In 1952, the July Constitution abolished the office of president and made the Council of State the collective head of state, chairmen of which are listed below. Real power rested with the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), its Central Committee and its secretary general/first secretary.

Polish United Workers Party Polish former communist political party

The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the Polish People's Republic from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism. It also controlled the armed forces, the Polish People's Army.

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Aleksander Zawadzki 01.jpg Aleksander Zawadzki
(1899–1964)
20 November 19527 August 1964
(Died in office)
Polish United Workers' Party Died in office (cancer).
In accordance with the constitution, the vice presidents of the Council of State, Edward Ochab, Stanisław Kulczyński, Oskar R. Lange and Bolesław Podedworny, became collegially acting heads of state.
Edward Ochab 2.jpg Edward Ochab
(1906–1989)
12 August 196410 April 1968 Polish United Workers' Party
Marian Spychalski.jpg Marian Spychalski
(1906–1980)
10 April 196823 December 1970 Polish United Workers' Party
Cyrankiewicz.jpg Józef Cyrankiewicz
(1911–1989)
23 December 197028 March 1972 Polish United Workers' Party
Henryk jablonski.jpg Henryk Jabłoński
(1909–2003)
28 March 19726 November 1985 Polish United Workers' Party
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski 13 grudnia 1981.JPG Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
6 November 198519 July 1989 Polish United Workers' Party Also, the First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party.

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski 13 grudnia 1981.JPG Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
19 July 198922 December 1990
(Resigned)
Polish United Workers' Party
(to 30 January 1990)
Following the Polish Round Table Agreement between Polish United Workers' Party and Solidarity, the Council of State was abolished. Its chairman was elected President of the People's Republic by the Parliament.
Independent

First Secretaries of the Polish United Workers' Party

From 1954 the head of the party was also the Chairman of the Central Committee:

Name
(Birth–Death)
PortraitEntered officeLeft officePosition
Bolesław Bierut
(1892–1956)
PL Boleslaw Bierut (1892-1956).jpg December 22, 1948March 12, 1956
(Died in office)
Secretary General
Edward Ochab
(1906–1989)
Edward Ochab 2.jpg March 20, 1956October 21, 1956First Secretary
Władysław Gomułka
(1905–1982)
Wladyslaw Gomulka 1967.jpg October 21, 1956December 20, 1970
Edward Gierek
(1913–2001)
Edward Gierek 1980b.jpg December 20, 1970September 6, 1980
Stanisław Kania
(born 1927)
Posel Stanislaw Kania IX kadencja.jpg September 6, 1980October 18, 1981
Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski 13 grudnia 1981.JPG October 18, 1981July 29, 1989
Mieczysław Rakowski
(1926–2008)
Mieczyslaw Rakowski.jpg July 29, 1989January 29, 1990

Republic of Poland (1989–present)

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Previous office
1 Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski 13 grudnia 1981.JPG Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
19 July 198922 December 1990
(Resigned)
Polish United Workers' Party
(to 30 January 1990)
Following the Polish Round Table Agreement between Polish United Workers' Party and Solidarity, the Council of State was abolished. Its chairman was elected President of the People's Republic by the Parliament.
(1) Independent
2 Lech Walesa - 2009.jpg Lech Wałęsa
(born 1943)
22 December 199022 December 1995 Solidarity Citizens' Committee Elected 1990, the first President elected by popular vote.
3 Aleksander Kwasniewski - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2004.jpg Aleksander Kwaśniewski
(born 1954)
23 December 199523 December 2000 Social Democracy Member of the Sejm (1991–95); elected 1995.
(3)23 December 200023 December 2005 Independent Re-elected 2000, the first President of Third Republic elected twice.
4 Lech Kaczynski.jpg Lech Kaczyński
(1949–2010)
23 December 200510 April 2010
(Died in office)
Law and Justice Member of the Sejm (1991–93 and 2001–05); elected 2005. Died in an airplane crash, which also claimed the life of the last President of the Government-in-Exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski.
- Rada Krajowa Platformy Obywatelskiej RP, Warszawa (6.02.2015) (15836909753) (cropped).jpg Bronisław Komorowski
(born 1952)
Acting President
10 April 20108 July 2010 Civic Platform Marshal of the Sejm. Resigned as Acting President in order to run as a candidate in the 2010 Presidential election.
- Bogdan Borusewicz 02 Senate of Poland.jpg Bogdan Borusewicz
(born 1949)
Acting President
8 July 2010 Civic Platform Marshal of the Senate.
- Grzegorz Schetyna 77 posiedzenie Senatu (cropped).JPG Grzegorz Schetyna
(born 1963)
Acting President
8 July 20106 August 2010 Civic Platform Marshal of the Sejm. Served as Acting President until the 2010 Presidential election.
5 Rada Krajowa Platformy Obywatelskiej RP, Warszawa (6.02.2015) (15836909753) (cropped).jpg Bronisław Komorowski
(born 1952)
6 August 20106 August 2015 Civic Platform Member of the Sejm (1991–2010), Marshal of the Sejm (2007–10); acting (2010); elected 2010.
6 Prezydent RP Andrzej Duda (2018).jpg Andrzej Duda
(born 1972)
6 August 2015Incumbent Law and Justice Member of the Sejm (2011–14), Member of the European Parliament (2014–15); elected 2015.

See also

1990 Polish presidential election First completely free presidential elections in Poland

Presidential elections were held in Poland on 25 November 1990, with a second round on 9 December. They were the first direct presidential elections in the history of Poland, and the first free presidential elections since the May Coup of 1926. Before World War II, presidents were elected by the Sejm. From 1952 to 1989—the bulk of the Communist era—the presidency did not exist as a separate institution, and most of its functions were fulfilled by the State Council of Poland, whose chairman was considered the equivalent of a president.

1995 Polish presidential election Presidential elections in Poland

Presidential elections were held in Poland on 5 November 1995, with a second round on 19 November. Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Lech Wałęsa passed to the second round. Kwaśniewski won the election, collecting 51.7 percent of votes in the run-off, against 48.3 percent for Lech Wałęsa, the former Solidarity leader.

2000 Polish presidential election Presidential elections in Poland when current President won them in first round

The 2000 Polish presidential election took place in Poland on 8 October 2000. Incumbent President Aleksander Kwaśniewski was easily re-elected in the first round after winning more than 50% of the votes.

Related Research Articles

Prime Minister of Poland Head of Government of Poland

The President of the Council of Ministers, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister, is the leader of the cabinet and the head of government of Poland. The current responsibilities and traditions of the office stem from the creation of the contemporary Polish state, and the office is defined in the Constitution of 1997. According to the Constitution, the President of Poland nominates and appoints the prime minister, who will then propose the composition of the cabinet. Fourteen days following his or her appointment, the prime minister must submit a programme outlining the government's agenda to the Sejm, requiring a vote of confidence. Conflicts stemming from both interest and powers have arisen between the offices of President and Prime Minister in the past.

President of Poland head of state of Republic of Poland

The President of the Republic of Poland is the head of state of Poland. Their rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland. The president heads the executive branch. In addition the president has a right to dissolve parliament in certain cases, veto legislation and represents Poland in the international arena.

History of Poland (1989–present)

In 1989–1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the Polish People's Republic and led to the foundation of a democratic government, known as the Third Polish Republic. After ten years of democratic consolidation, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Polish government-in-exile

The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile, was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, which brought to an end the Second Polish Republic.

Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland

The Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland was created by the State National Council on the night of 31 December 1944.

Provisional Government of National Unity provisional government of Poland immediately after World War II

The Provisional Government of National Unity was a government formed by a decree of the State National Council on 28 June 1945. It was created as a coalition between the Polish Workers' Party and Stanisław Mikołajczyk, former Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile.

Ryszard Kaczorowski Polish statesman

Ryszard Kaczorowski, GCMG was a Polish statesman. Between 1989-90, he served as the last President of Poland in exile. He succeeded Kazimierz Sabbat, and resigned his post following Poland's regaining independence from the Soviet sphere of influence and the election of Lech Wałęsa as the first democratically elected President of Poland since before the Second World War. He also passed the presidential insignia to Wałęsa, thus ending the 45-year long episode of the Polish government in exile.

History of Solidarity aspect of history

The history of Solidarity, a Polish non-governmental trade union, began on August 14, 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country. Solidarity gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members. It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism.

Embassy of Poland, London

The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London is the diplomatic mission of Poland in the United Kingdom. It is located on Portland Place next to the High Commission of Kenya building. It forms part of a group of Grade II* listed buildings in Portland Place.

References