Law and Justice
Published 12th September, 2011
The Law and Justice Party or PiS was launched in April 2001 by Lech Kaczyński a former justice minister and his brother Jaroslav Kaczyński both of whom had been close associates of Lech Walesa. The party describes itself as right wing, anti-corruption, soft-euroscepticism and Christian democratic.
The party took much of its early support from the Solidarity Electoral Action and Centre Agreement. In their first election, fighting on a strongly anti-corruption platform, in September 2001, the party won 44 seats and 9.6% of the vote in the 460 strong Sejm or lower house.
By 2005 they had grown in popularity and Lech Kaczyński won the presidential election with 54.04% in a second round runoff against Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform.
In the same year they destroyed the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) government, winning an extra 111 seats, taking 155 seats in the Sejm. However, they did not have sufficient seats to rule alone and during the campaign had fallen out with the second largest party, the Civic Platform. They managed to put together a minority government with some smaller parties, but the coalition fell apart and in 2007 the Sejm voted to dissolve itself and call fresh elections.
In the 2007 election the polls suggested that it was very close between the PiS and Civic Platform. Although the PiS managed to increase its tally of seats to 166, an increase of eleven, the Civic Platform overtook them and formed a majority coalition government with the Polish People’s Party (PSL).
In 2010 Lech Kaczyński was killed in a air crash and in the subsequent election his brother was defeated by Bronisław Komorowski of Civic Platform.
In late 2010 a small group of MPs and MEPs left the party to form Poland Comes First.
The PiS has 11 of the 50 national seats in the European Parliament and is a member of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.