Poland (mainly) chooses stability and continuity: the October 2011 Polish parliamentary election

Szczerbiak, Aleks (2012) Poland (mainly) chooses stability and continuity: the October 2011 Polish parliamentary election. Working Paper. Sussex European Institute, Falmer, Brighton.

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Abstract

This paper argues that the key to the centrist Civic Platform’s victory in the 2011 Polish parliamentary election, the first by an incumbent governing party in post-communist Poland, was its ability to generate fear about the possible consequences of the right-wing Law and Justice party returning to power. Although many of Civic Platform’s supporters were disappointed with its slow progress in modernising the country, most voters viewed the party as the better guarantor of stability at a time of crisis and continued to harbour deeply ingrained concerns about the main opposition party. The election appeared to provide further evidence of the consolidation and stabilisation of the Polish party system around the Civic Platform-Law and Justice divide. However, other factors pointed to the dangers of declaring that the Polish party system was ‘frozen’ around these two political blocs and suggested that it remained vulnerable to further shocks and re-alignments. This was exemplified by the breakthrough of the Palikot Movement in this election which was able to mobilise a constituency that went beyond the existing anti-clerical electorate and represented a genuinely new phenomenon in Polish politics; although it was questionable whether, given its potential structural weaknesses and limitations of its appeal, this new party would be the long-term beneficiary of any revival on the Polish left.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Additional Information: SEI Working Paper No. 129
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN6750 Poland
Depositing User: Aleks Szczerbiak
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 14:15
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2014 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51462

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