POLAND
Parliamentary Chamber: Sejm

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2001

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Chamber:
  Sejm


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  23 September 2001


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the Sejm on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Fifteen political groups and independent candidates ran in the parliamentary elections that took place on 23 September 2001.

One of the main subjects of the electoral campaign was the bad economic situation. Unemployment had jumped from 10 to 16 percent in the year prior to the elections and the government budget deficit had ballooned, forcing leaders to search for deep cuts, and depressing investments.

The economic development that the country had witnessed in the immediate post-communist period had benefited mainly the major cities. Outside the city centre, small farmers have had to grapple with rising costs and foreign competition, while steelworkers, factory workers and coal miners face big job cuts

The official election results showed that the reformed communists had ousted the ruling Solidarity party from Parliament but would lack the requisite majority to govern on their own. The Central Election Commission announced that the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) - which is led by former communists but whose policies are close to West European centre-left parties - had won 41.04 percent of the vote, the most support won by any party since the Solidarity movement brought down communism in 1989. The SLD had thus won 216 seats in the Sejm, 12 short of an outright majority, and 75 in the Senate. The liberal conservative Civic Platform was second with 65 seats, followed by the radical farmers' group Self-Defence with 53 and the right-wing party Law and Justice with 44. The Solidarity movement collapsed, failing to win a single seat.

On 4 October 2001, Mr. Leszek Miller, a former communist and leader of the Social Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), was named Prime Minister, the 10th since the transition to democracy. Two days later, the councils of the SLD and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) formally approved the formation of an SLD-PSL coalition cabinet that have 258 votes in the 460-seat Sejm.

On 19 October 2001, the new Parliament held its first sitting. Mr Marek Borowski was elected as new Speaker of the Sejm and Mr Longin Hieronim Pastusiak as President of the Senate.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (23 September 2001): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 29 364 455
Voters 13 591 681 (46.29%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 541 483
Valid votes 13 050 198

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Left Democratic Alliance + Labor Union (SLD-UP) 907 5 342 519 41.04
Civic Platform 761 1 651 099 12.68
Self-Defense 664 1 327 642 10.20
Law and Justice (PiS) 750 1 236 787 9.50
Polish Peasant Party (PSL) 882 1 168 659 8.98
League of Polish Families (LPR) 719 1 025 148 7.87
German Minority of Lower Silesia 36 47 230 0.36

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Left Democratic Alliance + Labor Union (SLD-UP) 216
Civic Platform 65
Self-Defense 53
Law and Justice (PiS) 44
Polish Peasant Party (PSL) 42
League of Polish Families (LPR) 38
German Minority of Lower Silesia 2

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 367
Women: 93
Percent of women: 20.22 %

Distribution of seats according to age:  
21 to 30 years 13
31 to 40 years 61
41 to 50 years 191
51 to 60 years 171
61 to 70 years 21
Over 70 years 3


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Copyright 2001 Inter-Parliamentary Union