List of heads of state of Poland

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Poland

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
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
Gabriel Narutowicz
(1865–1922)
11 December 192216 December 1922 Independent
supported by
Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie"
Assassinated.
Maciej Rataj
(1884–1940)
Acting President
16 December 192222 December 1922 Polish People's Party "Piast" Marshal of the Sejm.
Stanisław Wojciechowski
(1869–1953)
22 December 192214 May 1926 Polish People's Party "Piast" Deposed in the May Coup by Marshal Piłsudski.
Maciej Rataj
(1884–1940)
Acting President
14 May 19264 June 1926 Polish People's Party "Piast" Marshal of the Sejm.
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.

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

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Władysław Raczkiewicz
(1885–1947)
30 September 19396 June 1947 Independent Raczkiewicz's government lost recognition by the Western allies on 6 July 1945.
August Zaleski
(1883–1972)
9 June 19477 April 1972 Independent From 1954 onwards, opposed by the Rada Trzech (Council of Three).
Stanisław Ostrowski
(1892–1982)
9 April 197224 March 1979 Independent
Edward Raczyński
(1891–1993)
8 April 19798 April 1986 Independent
Kazimierz Sabbat
(1913–1989)
8 April 198619 July 1989 Independent
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
Bolesław Bierut
(1892–1956)
31 December 19445 February 1947 Polish Workers' Party

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
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.

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Aleksander Zawadzki
(1899–1964)
20 November 19527 August 1964 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
(1906–1989)
12 August 196410 April 1968 Polish United Workers' Party
Marian Spychalski
(1906–1980)
10 April 196823 December 1970 Polish United Workers' Party
Józef Cyrankiewicz
(1911–1989)
23 December 197028 March 1972 Polish United Workers' Party
Henryk Jabłoński
(1909–2003)
28 March 19726 November 1985 Polish United Workers' Party
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
Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
19 July 198922 December 1990 Polish United Workers' Party 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.

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)
December 22, 1948March 12, 1956Secretary General
Edward Ochab
(1906–1989)
March 20, 1956October 21, 1956First Secretary
Władysław Gomułka
(1905–1982)
October 21, 1956December 20, 1970
Edward Gierek
(1913–2001)
December 20, 1970September 6, 1980
Stanisław Kania
(born 1927)
September 6, 1980October 18, 1981
Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
October 18, 1981July 29, 1989
Mieczysław Rakowski
(1926–2008)
July 29, 1989January 29, 1990

Republic of Poland (1989–present)

President of the Republic

PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Entered officeLeft officePolitical partyNotes
Previous office
Wojciech Jaruzelski
(1923–2014)
19 July 198922 December 1990 Polish United Workers' Party 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.
Lech Wałęsa
(born 1943)
22 December 199022 December 1995 Solidarity Elected 1990, the first President elected by popular vote.
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
(born 1954)
23 December 199523 December 2000 Social Democracy Member of the Sejm (1991–95); elected 1995.
23 December 200023 December 2005 Independent Re-elected 2000, the first President of Third Republic elected twice.
Lech Kaczyński
(1949–2010)
23 December 200510 April 2010 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.
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
(born 1949)
Acting President
8 July 2010 Civic Platform Marshal of the Senate.
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.
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.
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

References