Published 12th September, 2011
Civic Platform or PO was founded in 2001 as a splinter group from Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) by Maciej Płażyński, Speaker of the Sejm and others including Donald Tusk from Freedom Union. The party describes itself as centre right, Christian democratic and pro-European.
In their first general election in 2001 they came second behind the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) with 65 seats and 12.7% of the vote in the 460 seat Sejm.
In the 2005 presidential election their candidate, Donald Tusk, came second in the second round runoff to Lech Kaczyński of the Law and Justice Party (PiS). In the general election of the same year they also came second to the PiS, increasing their tally of seats to 133 and with 24.1% of the vote. There had been talk of a coalition between the PiS and PO but an increasingly acrimonious campaign put paid to that idea and the PO went into opposition.
Two years later, in 2007, another general election was called and the Civic Platform overtook the PiS and won 209 seats, forming a majority coalition government with Polish People’s Party (PSL). Donald Tusk became the new prime minister.
Following the death of President Lech Kaczyński in 2010 just months before he was due for re-election a new vote was held and the party’s candidate, Bronisław Komorowski, won the contest against Lech’s brother Jaroslav.
The party has 25 of the 50 national seats in the European Parliament and is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP). The PO is also a member of Centrist Democrat International.