- Who is the current president of Poland…?
- Who is the current Polish prime minister…?
- What is the full name of the governing party…?
Can you answer these questions? In my opinion, if you are a foreigner living Poland and planning to tie your future with this country – you should.
Many people decide not to get involved into politics – and I get it. Endless discussions leading to nowhere can be tiring, but remember: politics of a country has a great influence over people who live in there, and therefore it has a great influence over your life.
So, what are the most important things that you should know?
1. The system
The Polish government system is based on the principle of separation and balance between the three powers: legislative, executive and judicial powers.
- Legislative power: Sejm and the Senate
- Executive power: President of the Republic of Poland and the Council of Ministers
- Judicial power: courts and tribunals
2. The President & the Prime Minister
As mentioned before, they represent the executive power:
- the President is the head of state (elected by popular vote for a 5-year term)
- the Prime Minister is the head of government (appointed by the President and confirmed by the Sejm)
- …and the government consists of the Council of Ministers (led by the Prime Minister).
- The current President is Andrzej Duda (from Law and Justice party, PiS)
- The current Prime Minister is Beata Szydło (from Law and Justice party, PiS)
3. Sejm and Senate
Sejm (the lower house of parliament) and Senat (the upper house of the parliament) constitute the legislative power. The elections take place every 4 years.
4. Curious facts.
#1: The Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791 was the second constitution ever written in the world and the first one in Europe.
#2: There was a time when Poland was ruled by… twin brothers! Jarosław and Lech Kaczyński – one was the Prime Minister, and the other one was the President. Quite insane…
#3: Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister (from Civic Platform party), is currently president of the European Council. Current Polish government hates him so much that Poland was the ONLY country that didn’t vote for his re-election!
#4: This is quite embarrassing, but here we go: a far-right Polish Member of European Parliament, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, said that women must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent than men (!!!). Some of us still haven’t realised we’re in the 21st century… Here’s the video, if you want to laugh a bit:
And last but not least: a brilliant article by BuzzFeed explaining current Polish political scene in 28 memes. You will not regret reading it!
5. Political parties
Here’s a list of the most important political parties on the current Polish political scene:
Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS)
- Leader: Jarosław Kaczyński. They are the leading party in government since November 2015. A right-wing, national-conservative party.
Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO)
- Leader: Grzegorz Schetyna. They were the leading party in government to 2007 and 2015. A liberal-conservative party.
Modern (Nowoczesna, .N)
- Leader: Ryszard Petru. A classical liberal party.
Polish People’s Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL)
- Leader: Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. An agrarian, Christian democratic party.
United Poland (Solidarna Polska)
- Leader: Zbigniew Ziobro. A right-wing & Catholic-nationalist party.
Poland Together (Polska Razem)
- Leader: Jarosław Gowin. A centre-right party.
Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD)
- Leader: Włodzimierz Czarzasty. A social-democratic party.
* * *
And here a short vocabulary overview (for those of you who want to improve your Polish!):
- prezydent – president
- premier – prime minister
- wybory – elections (sounds like Wyborowa, easy to remember)
- partia polityczna – political party
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