Parliamentary Chamber: Sejm


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 October 1991

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following the premature dissolution of this body. General elections had previously been held in June 1989.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The election date was announced on 3 July 1991 and the campaign lasted from the next day until 26 October. As opposed to the previous (June 1989) general elections, when polling was based on an agreement that only a limited number of seats would be freely contested., all parliamentary seats in 1991, for the first time since World War II, were open to any contender. As a result, a multitude of parties fielded for 6,000 candidates for the two Houses.

Major groups included the centre-left Democratic Union by former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the Democratic Left Alliance made up of former Communists, three Solidarity (trade-union movement) splinter parties and three Catholic groups. During the generally peaceful campaign, most contestants advocated development of a market economy and further privatisation, and emphasized protection of health, the environment and development of housing. But the main parties differed on the pace of economic reforms in the face of lingering problems such as unemployment, inflation and foreign debt.

Polling day was marked by a low turnout, which observers varyingly attributed to the complex electoral law and the bewildering array of parties. Final results ushered in a fragmented legislature - 29 parties in the Sejm, with the leading one (Democratic Union) obtaining 62 seats and 12.3 % of the popular vote; only 113 of the 460 members had served previously.

In this context, formation of a new Government took several weeks, during which outgoing Prime Minister J.K. Bielecki (Liberal Democratic Congress) continued in a caretaker capacity. Finally, on 5 December, President of the Republic Lech Walesa nominated Mr. Jan Olszewski (POC), leader of a five-party centre-right coalition in the Sejm, as Prime Minister. He heads a coalition Council of Ministers, approved on 23 December.

Round no 1 (27 October 1991): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 27,516,166
Voters 1,887,949 (43.2%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 669,347
Valid votes 11,218,602

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Democratic Union (UD) 186 1,381,051 12.31
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) 105 1,344,812 11.98
Catholic Electoral Action (WAK) 90 957,785 8.73
Polish Peasant Party “Programme Alliance” (PSL) 70 472,952 8.67
Confederation for an Independent Poland (KPN) 69 841,738 7.50
Centre Citizens’ Alliance (POC) 70 912,291 8.71
Liberal Democratic Congress (KLD) 100 830,385 7.48
People’s Alliance (PL) 69 595,739 5.46
Solidarity Trade Union 79 566,553 5.05
Polish Party of Beer Friends (PPPP) 88 343,126 3.27
German Minority 48 132,059 1.17
Christian Democracy 69 224,977 2.36
Christian Democrats Party 130 125,314 1.11
Labour Solidarity 69 230,975 2.05
Polish Western Union 68 25,290 0.23
Real Politics Union 137 253,024 2.25
Other parties n.a. n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Democratic Union (UD) 62
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) 60
Catholic Electoral Action (WAK) 49
Polish Peasant Party “Programme Alliance” (PSL) 48
Confederation for an Independent Poland (KPN) 46
Centre Citizens’ Alliance (POC) 44
Liberal Democratic Congress (KLD) 37
People’s Alliance (PL) 28
Solidarity Trade Union 27
Polish Party of Beer Friends (PPPP) 16
German Minority 7
Christian Democracy 5
Christian Democrats Party 4
Labour Solidarity 4
Polish Western Union 4
Real Politics Union 3
Other parties 16

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 416
Women: 44

Distribution of seats according to age:  
20-29 years 35
30-39 years 135
49-49 years 183
50-59 years 73
60-69 years 33
70-79 years 1

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Academic/teaching sector 55
Farmers 51
Administrative staff 48
Politicians 33
Physicians 20
Lawyers 19
Engineers 17
Technicians 11
Economists 15
Journalists 14
Humanists 12
Stock farmers 4
Medical staff 3
Others 67
Unemployed (incl. retired, students, housewives) 71
No data available 20

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Copyright 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union