Parliamentary Chamber: Sejm


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  4 June 1989
18 June 1989

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the new Parliament provided for by the electoral reforms of April 1989. General elections had previously been held in October 1985.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 5 April 1989, the "round table" talks between the Government and leaders of the opposition (particularly the Solidarity trade-union movement, headed by Mr. Lech Walesa) that had lasted two months culminated with agreements on political reform, trade union pluralism (including the legalization of Solidarity), and economic and social policy. Among the political reforms was the introduction of a new bicameral Parliament . According to the accords, Senators would be chosen through free elections; in the Diet, the ruling Polish United Workers Party (PZPR) and its then allies were guaranteed 65% representation, the remaining 35% of the seats to be open to opposition figures and independents in freely contested races. The whole process was to be "nonconfrontational".

Campaining for the June polling opened on 10 May and focused largely on issues surrounding the country's onerous economic problems (especially foreign debt, inflation, falling industrial production). The Government emphasized the need for post-election co-operation by all parties. In certain constituencies, the accent was as much on personalities as platforms. There was a total of 558 candidates for the 100 Senate seats and some 1,795 in the running for the 460 Diet seats, which included 35 prominent Party figures appearing on a national list, who were initially unopposed.

In the face of a complex voting procedure, the first-round polling day was characterized by a relatively low turnout. Final results after the second round of voting on 18 June – in which eight Senate and 295 Diet seats (including 33 of the national list and one set aside for the opposition) remained in contention – gave the Citizens' Committee nominated by Mr. Walesa (a coalition of opposition candidates) a virtual sweep of the parliamentary seats it contested. Given this outcome, a "grand coalition" was proposed by the PZPR but rejected by the newly created Citizens' Parliamentary Club (OKP).

The inaugural session of the National Assembly took place on 4 July. On 2 August, Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak was named Prime Minister. However, being unable to form the "grand coalition" Government, he resigned on 24 August and was succeeded the same day by Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki. On 12 September, Mr. Mazowiecki's Cabinet was approved; among its 23 members were eight Deputies, two Senators and representatives of the OKP, PZPR, ZSL and SD parties.

Round no 1 (4 June 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 27,362,313
Voters 62%
Round no 2 (18 June 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 27,026,146
Voters 25.3%

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Citizens' Parliamentary Club (OKP) 161
Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) 173
United Peasants' Party (ZSL) 76
Democratic Party (SD) 27
Association of Lay Catholics (PAX) 10
Social Christian Union (UChS) 8
Polish Social Catholic Union (PZKS) 5

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 398
Women: 62

Distribution of seats according to age:  
20-29 years 9
30-39 years 93
40-49 years 211
50-59 years 121
60-69 years 26
70 years and over 0

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Intellectual workers 358
Farmers 64
Labourers 18
Craftsmen 6
Retired 8
Others 6

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Copyright 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union