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P. Sula, Post-communist parties in Poland after 1989, [in:] Uwe Backes, Patrick Moreau (eds.), Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2008. Post-communist parties in Poland after 1989

1. Introduction

The following article is devoted to the scrutiny of the post-communist parties existing in the Polish political landscape after 1989. Within the Polish context the category of the postcommunist parties turns to be highly capacious since simultaneously it refers to the party of the social democratic profile (the Democratic Left Alliance, Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznejthe SLD1), the pheasants’ party (the Polish Peasant Party, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe- the PSL) and the group focusing on the organizational outlasting and maintaining the material status (the Democratic Party, Stronnictwo Demokratyczne- the SD). Hitherto conducted research on the post-communist parties in Poland was based on two divergent premises; one of them advocated labelling both the SdRP and the PSL the postcommunist parties2 whereas the other promoted focusing merely on the SdRP3. Nevertheless, in my opinion, both of these parties should be considered as the post-communist ones, or as the successor parties as former communist parties are often called. The validation of such a classification lies in two arguments. Firstly, even though it can be agreed that the role of the PSL forerunner, the United Peasant Party (Zjednoczone Stronnictwo Ludowe- the ZSL), was of the marginal importance, it is not deniable that the ZSL supported the Polish United Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza- the PZPR), which fact justifies treating it as the branch of the ruling camp. Secondly, undoubtedly in both the organizational as well as the personal aspect, the PSL represents the prolongation of the ZSL. Having taken 1

Till 1999 functioning as the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, the SdRP). 2 Such an approach to the post-communist parties can be for instance found in: Frances Millard, The Polish Parliamentary Election of September, 1993, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 27, No. 3, 1994, p. 295; Alison Mahr, John Nagle, Resurrection of the Successor Parties and Democratization in East-Central Europe, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1995, p. 400; Wiesława Jednaka, Partie polityczne wybranych pa stw Europy rodkowo – Wschdoniej, [in:] Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut, Demokracje Europy – Srodkowo – Wschodniej w perspektywie porównawczej, Wyd. UWr. Wrocław, 1997, p. 124. 3 See for instance: John Ishiyama, Sickles into Roses: The Successor Parties and Democratic Consolidation in Post-Communist Politics, [in:] Paul Lewis (ed.), Party Development and Democratic Change in Post-Communist Europe. The First Decade, Frank Cass, London 2001; Anna Grzymala-Busse, The programmatic turnaround of communist successor parties in East Central Europe, 1989–1998, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2002, The Regents of the University of California, pp. 51–66.

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all these into consideration, I intend to focus in this article on the subject matter of both the SdRP and the PSL. As far as the semantic issue is concerned, I suppose there is no need to resign from exploiting the term post-communist parties which I am going to use in this article to identify the parties that are the successors, in the organizational sense, either of the ruling parties (the SdRP as the successor of the PZPR) or these accepting the government (the PSL as the prolongation of the ZSL and the SD).

2. Parties and the party system in Poland before 1989 The party system in Poland from before 1989 is not rarely branded as the façade of the multi-party system.4 Such a structure entails the dominance of one of the parties whereas the performance of other groups, called satellite ones, is precisely licensed. Consequently, satellite parties constitute a screen behind which the hegemonic party can autonomously and unrestrictedly steer the decision-making. Hence, the multi-party system of this type has nothing in common with the rivalry distinctive to democratic systems. The hegemonic position in the Polish party system was occupied by the PZPR, in turn, the United Peasant Party (Zjednoczone Stronnictwo Ludowe- the ZSL) and the Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne- the SD) were plainly of the ‘decorative’ function. The SD was relatively the weakest component of this structure, which fact can be verified by the number of Parliament members after the contractual election of 4th June 1989, with the number of 27 deputies representing the SD among 460 members of the Sejm (the lower house) compared with 173 on behalf of the PZPR and 76 on behalf of the ZSL.5 The election of June opened a new phase in the existence of the satellite parties. As I have mentioned previously their role before 1989 was confined to keeping up the appearances of democratism. Performing this function was accompanied by the total lack of any impact on the policy of the country. Yet, the situation altered along with the initiation of the democratic transformation process. It could be even argued that the former satellite parties underwent at that time the process of subjectivity, having become the fully sovereign actors aspiring to take the active part on the political scene. Paradoxically as well, the structure from before 1989, which was not comfortable for the ZSL and the SD, provided these parties with indispensable 4

Giovanni Sartori, Teoria demokracji, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 1998, p. 575, 576; Giovanni Sartori, Parties and party systems. A framework for analysis, European Consortium for Political Research, Colchester 2005, pp. 204, 205. 5 Halina Lisicka (ed.), System Polityczny Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, Biuro Doradztwa Ekologicznego, Wrocław 2005, p. 172.

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tools that let them fit in perfectly to the new reality. Among these, firstly, the fact of controlling quite a big number of the Parliament seats should be enumerated, the fact which some years ago was of minor importance in the political dimension, suddenly became valuable and, correspondingly, the former satellite parties became an attractive political associate. However, not only the quantity factor (the number of the Parliament members) but also the quality features enhanced the potential of the SD and the ZSL since the organizational autonomy from the PZPR was becoming the symbol highlighting the existence of these parties in the new democratic reality. Thus, it could be ranked as the success for the satellite parties that the views indicating the need of settling the coalition between the PZPR, the ZSL and the SD manifested by some PZPR members in years 1982-1987, did not bring any effect6. The former PZPR allies took quite a diverse advantage of their prospective, which matter I will elaborate on further in the article. At this point it is worth noticing that the former satellites were credited with the trust among groups of the anti-communist origin, whereas the PZPR and its successor could just dream of it. When assessing the condition of the PZRP before 1989 it is significant to emphasize its undoubted role in breaking the old regime, which process in Poland took, referring to Huntington’s typology, the form of displacement. This term implies the cooperation of governing and opposition parties in building the new democratic order.7 According to Huntington, the governing body could not implement reforms on their own as the influence of conservatists on the one hand and those in favour of changes on the other was within the PZPR comparable. Toppling the government by the opposition, in turn, was impossible since the status of the opposition, powerful as it appeared, was not sufficient for this cause. Therefore, the only solution in these circumstances was the cooperation between the government and the opposition. Yet such an attitude within the PZPR prevailed only in the second half of the 1990s since till the end of 1987 the authorities hoped to introduce political and economic reforms without the cooperation with the opposing parties.8 The above observations convince how huge the influence of PZPR on the functioning of the political system before 1989 was – the transformations within the party itself induced

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Andrzej Antoszewski, Erozja systemu politycznego PRL. Studium procesu, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 1992, p. 163. 7 Samuel P. Huntington, Trzecia fala demokratyzacji, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 1995, p. 156 158. 8 Jerzy J. Wiatr, Polska droga do demokracji, [in:] Jarosław Kilias, Barbara Fr tczak – Rudnicka, Jerzy Bartkowski, Jacek Raciborski, Jerzy J. Wiatr, Demokracja polska 1989 – 2003, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar, Warszawa 2003, p. 42 – 43.

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the democratization process. However, even the reformatory wing of the party was not able to foresee that the system change would have such a radical facet. When reconstructing the reasoning pattern of PZPR politicians starting the round-table conference on 6th February 1989 it has to be mentioned that they were convinced about the possibility to incorporate the opposing parties into the mechanism of the communist country. This goal was to be achieved, in the opinion of PZPR activists, by talking the opposition into so called ‘non-confrontational’ parliamentary elections.9 According to the arrangements settled during the round-table conference, 60 % of parliamentary seats were guaranteed to be taken by the PZPR, the ZSL, and the SD, the next 5% by closely cooperative with the PZPR parties like the ‘PAX’ Society (Stowarzyszenie “PAX”), the Christian-Social Union (Unia Chrze cija sko- Społeczna- the UChS) and the Polish Catholic-Social Union (Polski Zwi zek Katolicko- Społeczny, the PZKS). It was also agreed that the left 35% seats in the lower house could be competed over by non-party candidates, meaning the opposition.10 However, in this case there were no guaranteed seats, representatives of the opponent parties were to compete for the seats in the Parliament with the ruling camp candidates.

3. The erosion of alliances and the decomposition of the ruling camp – political consequences of the contract election The Parliamentary election of 4th June 1989 had the nature of the plebiscite, or even more accurately, the one of the protest, since for the society, voting on ‘Solidarity’ candidates corresponded with refusing the legitimacy to rule for PZPR members. In other words, very often the electoral decisions were determined by the bias against communists rather than the endorsement for ‘Solidarity’ candidates.11 The results of the election turned out to be surprisingly satisfactory for the opposition, although it has to be admitted that the scale of the success was related to imposing the majority electoral system both in case of the lower house (the Sejm) as well as the upper house election (the Senate).12

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Antoni Dudek, Pierwsze lata III Rzeczypospolitej 1989 – 1995. Zarys historii politycznej Polski, Wydawnictwo GEO, Kraków 1997, p. 27 – 28. 10 Marek Chmaj, Od stanu wojennego do okr głego stołu. Geneza transformacji polityczno - ustrojowej w Polsce, [in:] Sylwester Wróbel (ed.), Polska w okresie przeobra e ustrojowych, Wydawnictwo „ l sk”, Katowice 1998, p. 68. 11 Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut, Wiesława Jednaka, Partie i system partyjny w Polsce. Pierwsza faza przej cia ku demokracji, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 1993, p. 46 – 47. 12 Marek Migalski, Wpływ ordynacji wyborczych na kształtowanie si polskiego systemu partyjnego, [in:] Marek Migalski, Waldemar Wojtasik, Marek Mazur, Polski system partyjny, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 2006, p. 58 – 60.

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Formally, the pre-electoral unity in the governing camp was to weaken after the election since all the co-acting with the PZPR groups created their own parliamentary clubs or circles. Obviously, their sizes varied greatly. The ZSL and the SD formed clubs of 76 and 27 members whereas the ‘PAX’ Society, the UChS and the PZKS- the circles extending to 10, 8, and 5 members respectively. The largest club of 173 Sejm members was associated with the PZPR. Of a slightly lower number (161 deputies) was the Civic Parliamentarian Caucus (Obywatelski Klub Parlamentarny) uniting deputies originating from ‘Solidarity.’13 Yet, the fact worth underlining is that the above indicated data refers only to the beginning of the Sejm tenure as the pattern of power in the Parliament underwent quite vital modifications within the next two years. Concluding, the suggestions of M. Laver and K. Benoit concerning the stipulation to analyse party systems also between elections get the particular magnitude when scrutinizing the Polish Parliamentary arena after 1989.14 Among the changes on the political scene, which took place before the Parliamentary elections of 1991, the special attention should be devoted to the transformations both within the PZPR itself as well as within the whole camp it was in charge of until 1989. The very PZPR ceased to exist in January 1990 when during the convention its members took the concurrent decisions on dissolving the party on the one hand and establishing the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej- the SdRP) on the other, with the party reformers as its leaders. To the new party entered also those PZPR activists who were against introducing political reforms. 15 Alternatively, those PZPR members who were in favour of breaking all the ties with the past (among them there was Tadeusz Fiszbach) formed the Social Democratic Union (Unia Socjaldemokratyczna, from April 1990 known as the Polish Social Democratic Union, Polska Unia Socjaldemokratycznathe PUS). This initiative attracted merely several dozens of those attending the convention. Undoubtedly bigger interest was induced among Parliament members of the former PZPR as 42 of them gathered in this newly formed Parliamentary club. Yet, the lack of wider support for the party actions lead to its dissolution in the middle of 1991; a great number of its members joined later the Labour Union (Unia Pracy).16

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Halina Lisicka (ed.), System Polityczny…, pp. 173 – 164. Michael Laver, Kenneth Benoit, The Evolution of Party Systems between Elections, American Journal of Political Science, 2003, Vol. 47, No. 2, p. 215, 216. 15 Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut, Jacek Sroka, System partyjny w Polsce, [in:] Andrzej Antoszewski, Petr Fiala, Ryszard Herbut, Jacek Sroka (eds.), Partie i systemy partyjne Europy rodkowej, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2003, pp. 118 - 119. 16 Antoni Dudek, Pierwsze lata…, p. 88. 14

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Even before the PZPR dissolution, the transformation process within the ZSL had been initiated. During the 11th special party conference in November 1989 the new name of the party was coined, the Polish Peasant Party ‘Rebirth’ (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe ‘Odrodzenie’). In rural areas this group had the opponent in two other parties under the common name PSL. In May 1990 PSL ‘Rebirth’ allied with the ‘Mikołajczykowski’s’ part of the PSL (pointing to the reference to the group existing in the 1940s). All these led to the birth of the Polish Peasant Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe). A totally different strategy than this of the PZPR and the ZSL was employed by the SD. Its activists decided to keep the name of the party as their history dated back to the pre- II World War period. The biggest political success of the SD was achieved during 1989-1991 tenure when its members supported both existing at that time cabinet coalitions- the one led by Tadeusz Mazowiecki (SD representatives having three ministers’ portfolios) as well as the one in charge of which from January was Jan Krzysztaf Bielecki (one department under the control of the SD politician).17 As I have mentioned, taking part in both coalitions should be translated as the prevalent success of the SD since during the next years within this party there were some identity and organizational problems evident. From 120 000 members the party managed to keep not more than 10 %.18 In the organizational aspect the party was also destabilised by the split of 1993 along with the lack of consistency as far as constructing the election mergers was concerned. In 1997 the SD allied with the Freedom Union (Unia Wolno ci) due to which fact it had one Parliament member and in 2001 with the Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej –SLD).19 The Democratic Party did not manage to function as skilfully as the PSL in the new political reality. Yet not worse than the latter party did they do in gathering the funds for their performance, although in this context the term gather should no be used. The SD budget was almost entirely dependent on the money from letting properties which the party had been given in the communist times. Those buildings situated in the centres of the biggest cities allowed gaining the high income incomparable with the needs of such a small party. The SD affiliates became property administrators rather than active politicians. Probably such a status would have been kept but for the amendment to the law on political parties introduced in 2002. It banned the parties to benefit from letting properties. For the SD the only solution in 17

Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut (eds.), Leksykon politologii, Wydawnictwo Atla 2, Wrocław 2004, pp. 540 – 543. 18 Jerzy Morawski, Partia w zaniku, Rzeczpospolita, 8th June 2002. 19 Eliza Olczyk, Miarka dla Sojuszu, Rzeczpospolita, 7th May 2001.

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such a situation was selling possessions. On deciding to do so the SD established the foundation ‘Self-governing and Democracy’ (Samorz dno

i Demokracja), which was

supposed to own the property and to get income from renting. The problem yet has arisen since buildings were not sold, instead, in this matter, only the preliminary contract was signed. Legal inaccuracies have not been clarified till today and it is still difficult to speak of any possibilities of applying any sanctions on the SD. Political parties can be declared illegal if they do not hold accounts for the electoral allocation, yet here the book-keeping of the SD is run faultlessly.20 Thus, the SD actions should be nowadays perceived rather as business not political ones. Nevertheless, I think that some space should be devoted to the reflection on this party, at least to show in how different way the resourses inherited from the former system are being capitalised. Having observed the political performance of the SD and other groups on the Polish political scene we can draw a conclusion that we have to deal here with a paradox. Whereas the SD, having a high material status, reveals the political passiveness, those groups, which face not sufficient financial background, take the active part on the all the political arenas (the electoral, parliamentary and cabinet one). Perhaps, however, this paradox is only ostensible. Perhaps the SD politicians have came to the conclusion that their party does not need to be as venturesome as other formations since even without its presence on the political arena, the SD will still manage to outlive and consequently, those not in such a comfortable position have to prove ambitious. It would mean that political parties may function even with the legitimacy deficit but would not stand the budget deficit. In this article I will above all handle the issue of parties which may not be so affluent as the SD but at the same time cannot complain about not having been supplied by the former system with any useful in the new conditions goods.

4. Organizational and programmatic transformations within post-communist parties. The cessation of the communist epoch in Poland was equivalent to the end of the party system in which political parties did not have to (or could not) compete. The opening of the electoral market unwrapped a totally new context for the post-communist parties. Yet it is worth noticing that getting prepared for functioning in the structure of the open rivalry was much easier for the post-communist parties than for parties originating from the opposition towards ancien regime because of the size of controlled material resources. I am mentioning

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Andrzej Stankiewicz, Michał Stankiewicz, Partia do robienia pieni dzy, Rzeczpospolita, 31st March 2005.

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only material ones since having an expanded party formation, considered to be one of the resources constituents, had, in this situation, a dysfunctional character. Taking no account of the possibility to mobilise the territorial structures during electoral campaigns, which was not of no magnitude in the first election after 1989, the expanded party apparatus was filled with the values that had nothing to do with democracy. So maybe paradoxically the SdRP, which had an expanded structure, was in a much more difficult situation than parties of the Solidarity background which had to get organised but at the same time were endowed with such a deficient in the communist camp value, namely, the social legitimacy. Concluding, it is worth noticing that building a modern social democratic party was not an easy assignment in the SdRP position and those difficulties stemmed from the fact that within the party members were those for whom democratic principles were not the sole directive in their public performance. With regards to the above points it can be argued that the SdRP was much more institutionalised than groups emerging from Solidarity in the beginning of 1990s.21 The suggestion concerning the level of institutionalisation is also applied to the PSL and the SD which simultaneously were not perceived as so responsible for the character of the regime before 1989 as the SdRP. Correspondingly, shaping the ‘democratic’ image could be relatively easier in case of the PSL and the SD. Yet, it is significant to remark that not only do the SdRP and the PSL diverge in terms of the role their predecessors played before 1989, but they also vary in the programmatic and organizational strategies they employed after 1989. From the beginning, the PSL decided to adapt the mass strategy in the context specified by Otto Kirchheimer.22 This term denotes that the PSL, being thus one of not many parties in East Central Europe which applied such an approach, was interested in the development of its members base.23 Its mass character can be also confirmed by the mere fact that the political appeal of the PSL was directed to the entire group (inhabitants of rural areas) not to individual voters. This group was loyal to the PSL, 21

See also: Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post - communist Eastern Europe, Routledge, London 2000, pp. 120 – 121. 22 Otto Kirchheimer, The Transformation of the Western European Party Systems, [in:] Joseph LaPalombara, Myron Weiner (eds.), Political Parties and Political Development, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 1966, pp. 182 – 184. 23 Generally in East Central Europe the low interest in taking the active part in the performance of political parties can be observed. This tendency is proven by the data concerning party membership collected between 1997-2000 in twenty European countries (EU countries, the Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary). The average result illustrating the percentage of parties members in relation to the entire electorate reached in these twenty countries 4,99% whereas in the countries of East Central Europe it was below this level (the Czech Republic in 1999- 3,94%, Poland in 2000- 1,15%, Slovakia in 2000- 4,11%, Hungary in 19992,15%). More on this matter: Peter Mair, Ingrid van Biezen, I. (2001), Party Membership in Twenty European Democracies, 1980–2000, Party Politics Vol. 7, No.1, p. 9.

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which fact is worth underlining since it was quite a peculiar phenomenon against the background of East Central Europe. This loyalty proved both the class and agrarian character of the former PZPR satellite.24 The mass character of the PSL, as I have noticed above, found its evidence also in the number of the party members. The following table illustrates the detailed statistics including the information on the SdRP members.

Table 1. Membership in Polish political parties between 1991- 2005. Membership Party

1991

1992

1993

1995

1997

1998/1999

2002

2005

The Social Democracy of the

60,000

-

65,000

60,000

60,000

60,000

150,000

78471

180,000 200,000 200,000 190,000 200,000

120,000

140,000 140,000

Republic of Poland (since 1999 the Democratic Left Alliance) The Polish Peasant Party

Sources: Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties in Post - communist Eastern Europe, Routledge, London 2000, p. 99; Eliza Olczyk, Sojusz b dzie wyrzucał awanturników. Marek Dyduch, sekretarz generalny SLD, o konfliktach w partii. Rzeczpospolita, 23rd August 2002; www.sld.org.pl; www.psl.org.pl, and own calculation.

The PSL however was forced to introduce some changes into their strategy. The high level of party membership was off course an effective tool in the electoral campaigns but in 1995 before the presidential elections the first paid commercials appeared thus the strategy of the party had to become altered in the direction which would enable them to broaden the group of supporters without the further expansion within the party members structure. Such logic resembles the process of the transformation of the mass party model into the electoral one in West Europe in the middle of the 20th century.25 However, it does not imply directly that the PSL took the strategy characteristic to electoral parties. Having observed the performance of the PSL, its choice can be rather associated with the strategy of patronage quite often employed in new democracies. The effective functioning of this method is possible only when the party (the patron) influences

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Aleks Szczerbiak, Party Structure and Organizational Development in Post-Communist Poland, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol.17, No.2, Frank Cass, London 2001, pp. 94–130. 25 On this issue, for instance: Ruud Koole, Cadre, catch – all or cartel? A Comment on the Notion of the Cartel Party, Party Politics, 1996, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 513; Otto Kirchheimer, The Transformation…, p. 184.

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decisions related to the distribution of material goods.26 These goods may take the form either of the social privileges for particular groups or filling posts in the public administration. The PSL as the co-ruling party took care, for instance, of keeping the social insurance privileges for farmers; insurance premiums paid to the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (Kasa Rolniczego Ubezpieczenia Społecznego- KRUS) are much lower than those of the rest of the society insured by the Social Insurance Institution (Zakład Ubezpiecze

Społecznych-

ZUS).27 The PSL took also the full advantage of the possibility to colonise the administrative structure28, especially departments which dealt with the issue of the countryside and agriculture (for example, the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture, Agencja Restrukturyzacji i Modernizacji Rolnictwa). Referring to the PSL it is worth highlighting that this party is deeply rooted in the local social as well as governing structures.29 Such an inclination was proved to some extent by the stable high level of the party membership and the successes achieved in local elections. 30 When it comes to programmatic strategies, the PSL from the very beginning of its performance was in favour of the extended interventional mechanisms and in favour of the elements of protectionism, which were to secure the sphere of the Polish agriculture.31 Consequently, the PSL presence within the cabinet coalition, which situation occurred twice during more or less intensified endeavours to enter the European Union, did not disturb evoking Euro-sceptical ambiance.32 Nevertheless, it is worth coming back to the main successor of the communist camp. The scrutiny of the SdRP entails the implication that the effective performance of this party after 1989 was possible provided that it would break with the communist symbolism. It was no so straightforward since the ancien regime marked its permanent stamp on each of the

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Ryszard Herbut, Partie polityczne i system partyjny, [in:] Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut (eds.), Polityka w Polsce w latach 90., Wyd. UWr., Wrocław 1998, p. 123. 27 Piotr Sula, Ewolucja wizerunku Polskiego Stronnictwa Ludowego, [in:] Marek Jezi ski (ed.), Marketing polityczny. W poszukiwaniu strategii wyborczego sukcesu, Dom Wydawniczy DUET, Toru 2004, pp. 380, 381. 28 On the reasons for the birth of clientelism in Central East Europe see: Herbert Kitschelt, Divergent Paths of Postcommunist Democracies, [in:] Political Parties and Democracy, Larry Diamond, Richard Gunther (eds.), The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London 2001, p. 316. 29 Piotr Sula, Ewolucja wizerunku…, p. 380. 30 On local goverments elections of 2006 see for instance: Piotr miłowicz, Pora ka Samoobrony, kl ska LPR, ‘Rzeczpospolita,’ 14th November 2006; Magdalena Kula, Ju wiadomo, kto b dzie gór w samorz dach, ‘Rzeczpospolita,’ 28th November 2006. 31 Ryszard Herbut, Partie polityczne…, p. 128. 32 Piotr Sula, Euro-scepticism in the party system of Poland, [in:] B etislav Dun ak, Petr Fiala, Vit Hloušek (eds.), Evropeizace. Nové téma politologického výzkumu, Masarykova Univerzita v Brn , Brno, 2005, p. 373.

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party element. Hence, the adaptation to new conditions meant the change of the holistic, programmatic, and organisational as well as personnel character.33 The transformation process was initialised, as I have mentioned, in 1990 with the creation of the SdRP with the younger generation at its steers and Aleksander Kwa niewski as their leader. Yet, it does not mean that the representatives of the older generation were totally removed, leaving them (with Leszek Miller among others) guaranteed the approval of the party conservatives for the new strategy. Apart from people the SdRP inherited also from its predecessor the possessions34 which it did not want, in contrast to some members, to get rid of. Not a smaller challenge than personnel and organizational transformations was for the SdRP the programmatic reform, the effect of which was to build a new social democratic party. The declarations of the new party activists implied that this transformation occurred all at once. But it is virtually impossible to accept that the SdRP politicians having been socialised in the times of the communist regime suddenly underwent the internalisation of democratic values. The process of ‘timing’ the mechanisms of the democratic country along with the change in perceiving this political order as the non-alternative one by the postcommunist elites seemed to take longer than a few days of the congress on which the PZPR ceased to exist and the SdRP was brought into being. The necessity of introducing fast changes in the post-communist party was determined by the international objectives of the SdRP which came into view just right after the formation of this party.35 The status of a fully legitimate member of the Socialist International was gained by the post-communists and a few other parties representing East Central Europe in 1996.36 Initially, the SdRP advocated scepticism towards the institution of the free market as a mere point of their political programme.37 Yet with time such an approach got justified by the outcome triggered by the market reforms known as Balcerowicz’s plan. In the consequence of the economy reforms there appeared social problems among which the biggest drain was

33

Andrzej Antoszewski, Wzorce rywalizacji politycznej we współczesnych demokracjach europejskich, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2004, p. 198. 34 Quite interesting was the very procedure of transference. The SdRP was formed during the break in the congress of the PZPR, and the communist party returned to debates to among other things enable the transferrence of the property to its successor. On this matter see: Antoni Dudek, Pierwsze lata…, p. 88. 35 Krystyna A. Paszkiewicz (ed.), Polskie partie polityczne. Charakterystyki, dokumenty, „Hektor” Drukarnia i Oficyna Wydawnicza, Wrocław 1996, p. 215. 36 Kazimierz Kik, Miedzynarodówka Socjalistyczna, [in:] Andrzej Zi ba (ed.), Organizacje mi dzynarodowe partii politycznych, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiello skiego, Kraków 2005, p. 65. 37 Anna Grzymala-Busse, The programmatic turnaround…, p. 60.

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employment and pauperisation of large social groups.38 These circumstances became the ground for post-communists to criticise any further moves of the next cabinets in charge of politicians originating from the former opposition. It is yet worth mentioning that the SdRP support for the extended interventionist mechanisms was gradually limited and the criticism of reforms was not equal to negating them but rather pointing to too high social expenditure. When it comes to the SdRP attitude to political issues and problems connected with the outlook on life, the fact of the unanimous rejections of such concepts as lustration and de-communisation is significant. The desired in Polish conditions regime is the parliamentary one, in which the president plays only the role of the arbiter. As regards the outlook on life, the SdRP had strictly laic character. It found its reverberation in the fact of criticising the ruling camp, originating from Solidarity, for the introduction of Religious Education to schools, religious symbols to civil institutions and signing up the concordat with Holy See.39 Thus, the post-communists’ standpoint did not undergo any vital modifications after changing the party label in 1999. Nonetheless, it does not indicate the total lack of any rectification in their views. The introduced changes were the result of the necessity to get the immediate support for particular political ventures. There could be mentioned as much as the SLD endeavours to get the support of the Catholic Church hierarchs for the integration process with the EU structures. Before the referendum of 2003, which was to decide about the Polish accession to the European Union the SLD politicians avoided the issues which could discourage Church representatives from verbal advocating the integration process.40 Such a strategy is best illustrated by the declaration made in December 2002 by the SLD general secretary, Marek Dyduch, in which he suggested dealing with the anti-abortion law just after the referendum.41 The Prime Minister, Leszek Miller, quickly pronounced his words infelicitous and declared that the government would not deal with the amendments to the anti-abortion law. However, not all the government members identified themselves with such an approach to the matter of abortion.42 Soon it turned out that the secretary’s prognostication from December started to

38

Jacek Raciborski wybory i wyborcy, [in:] Jarosław Kilias, Barbara Fr tczak – Rudnicka, Jerzy Bartkowski, Jacek Raciborski, Jerzy J. Wiatr, Demokracja polska 1989 – 2003, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar, Warszawa 2003, p. 214. 39 Ibidem, p. 214. 40 Robert Walenciak, Takiego SLD ju nie b dzie, Gazeta Wyborcza, 1st March 2004. 41 Eliza Kolczak, Najpierw referendum, potem aborcja. SLD i UP zamierzaj złagodzi ustaw o przerywaniu ci y, Rzeczpospolita, 19th December 2002. 42 Ewa K. Czaczkowska, Krzysztof Gottesman, Deklaracja musi by , Rzeczpospolita, 24th December 2004.

12

fulfil. The SLD initiated the works on the amendments to this bill in the early autumn 2003, so namely not long after the union referendum.43 The above scrutiny leads to the conclusion that both post-communist parties adapted divergent programmatic and organisational strategies. However, this diversity, as it was to turn out, did not eliminate the cooperation on the parliamentary and cabinet arena. The genetic aspect, the common past appeared to act a superior role. Yet before I will tackle the notion of the post-communists’ performance on the electoral, parliamentary and cabinet arenas, I would like to refer to the means of raising founds employed by the post-communist parties in Poland.

5. Financial resources of the post-communist parties in Poland

Considering the way of organising political parties and political strategies preferred by these parties inevitably directs our attention to the means of financing their performance. It turns out that the low level of party membership is correlated with the high share of public money in the budgets of the political parties.44 Correspondingly, if such a relation exists, the question arises whether in East Central Europe political parties either did not intend to expand their membership base since they knew they would get the access to the public funds any way, or they were simply not able to include new members because of the social unwillingness to get involved into politics, which stance was inherited from the communist epoch, and which situation forced them, in turn, to find the country budget as the source of financing their activities.45 It is not my aim though to give here the unanimous answer. Yet, I can undeniably assume that finding the instruments of financing their actions was in Poland, but also in other countries moving towards democracy, facilitated due to the role these parties played in the transformation phase, which was of not only ‘the passive receiver’ of reforms but above all of the demiurge of the majority of changes including these determining the legal premises of functioning and financing these parties. It is worth indicating that the issue of financing the political parties performance from the country budget was not included in the first act regulating the performance of political parties in Poland (the act of 28 July 1990 on political parties), although even before issuing 43

Eliza Olczyk, Sojusz idzie na wojn , Nowe projekty lewicy: aborcja na yczenie i legalizacja zwi zkow homoseksualnych. Rzeczpospolita 20th October 2003. 44 Paul G. Lewis, Political Parties…, p. 107 – 108. 45 Piotr Sula, System partyjny Republiki W gierskiej, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2005, pp. 24 – 25.

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the new law on political parties in June 27th 1997 the finances of political parties were replenished by the state budget. Such a situation was feasible as Parliament members who had their offices financed by the State, by the mere fact of the location of these offices in the party head offices meant at the same time financing the party itself.46 A great majority of parties’ income was acquired from public fund raising but largely also from donations made by private companies.47 Parties gained the possibility to finance their existence from the State budget in1997 by a virtue of the act on political parties. It was issued during the SdRP and the PSL common rule. It may be worthwhile to remark that during works on the project of this law the coalition was quite criticised for the proposal of the number of the party members required for the registration of the party. Primary, it was assumed that so as to register a party it should assemble 10000 members. Such regulation would denote the end for a great number of parties originating from the Solidarity camp. 48 Therefore, this level was lowered in the very act to 1000 members.

Table 2. The income structure of the post-communist parties in Poland in 2003 - 2005 (with the exception of the electoral fund, in PLN) 2003 2004 2005 The The The The The The SLD PSL SLD PSL SLD PSL 33,583,813 8,043,375 28,136,453 869,113 29,188,556 30,125,499

The total income (the sum from points 1-5; with the exception of the electoral fund and point 1 g)). 1. Assets on bank accounts of the party 31,853,091 7,879,680 26,832,286 728,617 28,416,976 29,948,599 a) the total of funds from physical persons 7,311,817 513,996 b) the interests of funds in bank accounts 192,960 3,694 and deposits c) derived from selling components of the 2,300 6,178,564 fixed assets d) derived from practices described in the 514 894 act of 27th June, article 27 (selling the party’s statute or programme) e) the amount of received allocations 10,528,051 642,109

5,963,637 550,440 4,430,978 645,503 342,956 494 496,742 46,395

f) the amount of received subvention 11,222,165 318,422 g) the financial means surplus evidenced 2,595,284 222,000 in part 2 point a) and the funds evidenced in part 2, point b) and c), transferred into the party’s bank accounts 2. The financial means paid into the 4,224,556 385,695 coffers of the party

19,297,605 0 22,548,359 0 1,224,418 118,316 937,136 59,862

3100

59,367 0

28,732,680

570

0

3,761

562

0

0

0

463,596

2,299,361 258,812 1,693,265 236,763

46

Kazimierz Groblewski, Pieni dze przez biura do partii, Rzeczpospolita, 1st February 1995. Małgorzata Suboti , Informacje, Rzeczpospolita, 3rd September 1996. 48 Artur Domosławski, Agata Nowakowska, Inne partie do podziemia?, Gazeta Wyborcza, 7th November 1994. 47

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a) member fees, not exceeding in a year 2,837,792 workers’ lowest month salary b) other payments, donations, not 1,384,800 exceeding in a year workers’ lowest salary (the register- the first name and surname, address, allocation) c) derived from practices described in the 1964 act of 27th June on political parties (the totals not exceeding 10 PLN, derived from selling copies of the party’s programme, its statute or making copies) 3. Intangible assets 67,079 4. Other sources not specified in parts 1-3 34,371 5. Payments taken with the violation of the 5,750 act of 27th June 1997 on political parties .

269, 951

1,713,698 184,706 1,157,009 186,585

104,185

583,613

69,031 536,256

47,719

11,560

2,050

5,074

2,463

0,0 0,0 0,0

216,682 12,542 3,300

0 11,628 0 3,823 77,187 14,227

0

0 0 1,957

Sources: The announcement of the National Electoral Commission from 24th May 2004 r. on the reports on the funds resources of political parties in 2003 (Monitor Polski 2004, No. 25, Pos. 430); The announcement of the National Electoral Commission from 23rd May 2005 on the reports on the funds resources of political parties in 2004 (Monitor Polski 2005, No. 32, Pos. 456); The announcement of the National Electoral Commission from 5th June 2006 on the reports on the funds resources of political parties in 2005 (Monitor Polski 2006, No. 41, Pos. 444).

Although the SdRP and the PSL acted solidarily in many circumstances, it can be argued that both these interesting to me parties represent two entirely contradictory models. This opinion refers even to the number of party members which in case of the SdRP is, as it appears from the previously presented data, much lower as well as to the income structure of these parties. It is worth adding that the means of raising funds are not as dependent on the number of organisation members as on the number of resources it controls (for the PSL, namely, real estates). Te data gathered by the National Electoral Commission (Komisja Wyborcza, the PKW), the body responsible for the annual verification of financial reports of political parties, indicates that over 60% of all the funds collected between 2003-2005 came form subsidies or the budget subvention. This form of financing is guaranteed by the act of 27th June 1997 on political parties and the act of 12th April 2001 on the electoral law to the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland. Much less of the SLD income came from the donations from physical persons (between 20 and 25%). The PSL gets its main profits from totally different sources. This is mainly the income from selling properties constituting the party’s tangible assets. They inherited some part of properties from its predecessor- the ZSL, and purchased the rest after the electoral success of 1993. These buildings were situated in the central areas of big cities.49 From the information presented in the table it is seen that in the next years only in a lesser extent, if at all, the ZSL 49

Krystyna Naszkowska , W PSL dymi, Gazeta Wyborcza, 11th September 2003.

15

took the advantage of budget subventions and grants which was the result of having their financial reports simply rejected by the PKW. The outlined differences between the SdRP and the PSL did not yet preclude their cooperation. Contrastingly, their common performance (more or less effective) has been staying at the same level since the beginning of the transformation. In the further part of my work I am going to deplore this matter in a broader sense.

6. The rivalry of the post-communist parties on the electoral, parliamentary - cabinet arena The growing importance of the post-communist parties on both the electoral and the parliamentary cabinet scenes is one of the major features of the evolution of the party system in Poland as well as in other countries of East Central Europe. The special emphasis should be put on the fact that these both post-communist parties are the only ones existing since 1989 on the parliamentary scene. Yet is should be also remembered that the SLD till 1993 had the status of a party isolated on the parliamentary level.50 The PSL, in turn, was perceived by the rest of actors of the political stage as ‘the better part’ of the former ruling camp. Yet this party was working on their image by supporting in 1991 Olszewski’s government. The best proof of accepting this party as the associate with full rights by the post-Solidarity circles was seen when President Wał sa put the PSL politician, Waldemar Pawlak, in charge of the cabinet forming mission.51 Isolated as the SLD was on the parliamentary scene, it achieved quite satisfactory electoral result in 1991 (the detailed information collected in the table 3). It is worth paying attention to one vital fact connected with the participation of the SLD in the parliamentary elections. As I have previously mentioned, created in 1990 the SdRP changed its name in 1999 into the SLD. Till then the Democratic Left Alliance had been functioning, however it had been only the political and electoral coalition formed in 1991. This alliance, apart from the SdRP having the crucial role, had comprised from a dozen or so to several dozens groups or organisations. Among these, worth mentioning is, for instance, the trade unions organization – the All Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Zwi zków Zawodowych, OPZZ), the Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna, PPS), or the Women’s Democratic Union (Demokratyczna Unia Kobiet).52

50

Wiesława Jednaka, Partie polityczne…, p. 123. Piotr Sula, Ewolucja wizerunku…, p. 383. 52 Andrzej Antoszewski, Ryszard Herbut, Jacek Sroka, System partyjny…, p. 145. 51

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In the subsequent parliamentary elections the support for the SLD was systematically increasing. This tendency was interrupted in 2005 when the SLD got the worst of hitherto results. This decrease in popularity of the SLD was associated with numerous accounts of the SLD politicians breaking the law.53 The inefficiency in fighting pathologies within the party itself forced some of its members (among others, Marek Borowski) to resign from the membership and to form the Social Democracy of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Polska, the SdPl). 54 The weak result in the parliamentary election of 2005 became for the disintegrated Left the spur to create an alliance comprising the SLD, the SdPl, and the Labour Union, but as well the central Democratic Party, uniting mainly former members of the Freedom Union. This coalition took the name of ‘the Left and the Democrats’ (Lewica i Demokraci). 55 And the signatories’ declarations indicate the prolongation of this cooperation. Simultaneously however, the unsolved issue of the leadership within these four parties attracts the attention. Ambitions of the leaders of the particular parties may provoke the major threats to the stability of the central left wing formation.56

Table 3. The support for the post-communist parties in Poland. 1991 – 2005.

The 1991 election The 1993 election The 1997 election The 2001 election The 2005 election

The SdRP/The SLD The number The number of seats in of votes in % the Parliament (in brackets the percentage) 12 59 (12,8%)

The PSL The number of votes in % 8,7

The number of seats in the Parliament (in brackets the percentage) 50 (10,87%)

20,4

171 (37%)

15,4

132 (28,7)

27,1

164 (35,65%)

7,3

27 (5,87%)

41

216 (46,96%)

9

42 (9,1%)

11,3

55 (11,96%)

7

25 (5,4%)

Source: Data collected by the National Electoral Commission; Marek Migalski, Wpływ ordynacji…, pp. 65 – 77; own calculation.

Both the SLD and the PSL prove the high level of the government relevance. Both parties twice after the parliamentary elections (of 1993 and 2001) decided to enter the cabinet coalitions. In both cases the initiative was on the SLD side. The PSL, consecutively, had the 53

Wojciech Załuska, Sojusz szybko zje d a, Gazeta Wyborcza, 13th February 2004. Rafał Kalukin, Dru yna "borówek", Gazeta Wyborcza, 27th March 2004 – 28th March 2004. 55 Dariusz Szymczycha, Lewica w pułapce, Gazeta Wyborcza, 23rd October 2006. 56 Wiesław D bski, Opozycja wci niedaj ca nadziei, Rzeczpospolita, 24th January 2007. 54

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complementing function. Yet, in 1993 the PSL managed to put forward their chairman, Waldemar Pawlak, as the candidate for the head of the cabinet. This fact should not be surprising if the political position of the president of that time, Lech Wał sa, is taken into account. Being biased against candidates suggested by the social democrats, he hinted the possibility of granting the support for Waldemar Pawlak as the Prime Minister.57 And it was not the first time when Wał sa confided in Pawlak, since just in 1992 Wał sa had assigned Pawlak the task (unsuccessful) of forming the cabinet for the first time. The cooperation between the SLD and the PSL lasted the whole tenure, although Pawlak kept the position of the Prime Minister only till 1995. As a result of the constructive vote of no confidence[, the SLD politician, Józef Oleksy took over this function. There seem to be two reasons for such a change. Firstly, within two years when Pawlak was holding the function of the Prime Minister his relationship with the President worsened. Secondly, whereas the level of tenseness in the very coalition was systematically growing, the SLD reacted to it in a much less compliant towards its partner manner than in the beginning of the tenure. The first months of the coalition performance was characterised by the SLD acquiescence towards the PSL as the social democrats recognized the PSL as the only political party interested in the cooperation with the SLD. At the same time the SLD politicians understood taking over the executive governing body as the chance of getting out of the political ghetto.58 The Prime Minister, Józef Oleksy, resigned from his post in January 1996 as a consequence of the political storm provoked by allegations of his cooperation with Russian secret services. His place in the coalition cabinet was taken by Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (the SLD) who was performing his duties till the end of the tenure so till the autumn 1997. The next phase of the coalition cooperation started for the SLD and the PSL after the election of 2000. The function of the Prime Minister was assigned to Leszek Miller. In created at that time government its representatives had also the electoral partner of the SLD, the Labour Party (the UP). This coalition endured till March 2003 and although the direct incentives for the break-up could be seen in the divergent opinions concerning the issue of bio-fuels and additional fees for drivers including fees for using highways (so called

57

Antoni Dudek, Pierwsze lata…, pp. 297 – 298. Wiesława Jednaka, Gabinety koalicyjne w III RP, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2004.

58

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vignettes), the animosity between the coalition partners was gradually escalating and such a break-up was only a matter of time.59 Miller’s government from March 2003 to May 2004 has the status of the minority cabinet. Its fall can be seen as the consequence of the scandals in which the SLD politicians took part, the inner conflicts and misunderstandings between the Prime Minister and the President. In May 2004 Marek Belka was assigned the office of the Prime Minister and he was in charge of the minority cabinet till the end of the tenure, which is till October 2005. The Polish Peasant Party noted its biggest success in the parliamentary election of 1993. Making no mention of the quantity features of the party relevance, it is worth noticing that the most essential achievement of the PSL is the fact of acquiring the position of the hinge party, which means that at present none of the contemporary parties rejects the possibility of cooperation with the PSL (on the ground of voivodship also the Citizens' Platform, Platforma Obywatelska, cooperates with the PSL). Hence, there could be the thesis ventured that the role of the PSL stems in a lesser extent from the electoral support but is much more determined by employed by the PSL political strategies.

7. Conclusions

The above enquiry indicates that the post-communist parties, despite the differentiated programmatic and organisational strategies they exercised, have become permanently inscribed into the political landscape of the III Republic of Poland. Yet, within this context there appears the doubt on the democratic credibility of the new formations. Since a great majority of members of the post-communist parties acted in the PZPR and the ZSL it is difficult to accept that the values that constituted the existence of these parties became swiftly extraneous for their members. The seal impressed in the mentality of the party activists after the communist period appears to be the most serious obstacle in acknowledging that the postcommunist parties are formations for which democracy is the natural ground. Since 1989 the post-communist parties were attempting to shape their image of the groups fully accepting the democratic character of the inter-parties rivalry. The fact that that this process was much more challenging for the Social Democrats also needs highlighting.

59

Waldemar Wojtasik, Gabinety koalicyjne w Polsce w latach 1989 - 2005, [in:] Marek Migalski, Waldemar Wojtasik, Marek Mazur, Polski system partyjny, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 2006, p. 234.

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It seems that accepting the idea of the European integration process and ‘the European values’ at the same time can be interpreted as one of the factors indicating the attachment to democracy. If we agree on such a stance, then the social democrats have to be distinguished as the pro-democratic party since they applied the European perspective quite fast. The SdRP found itself in a dubious situation, on the one hand, being inclined to subordinate Poland to the Soviet empire before 1989, on the other one, after 1989 pronouncing the readiness to introduce Poland into the frame of the supranational structures of West Europe.60 The postcommunists’ attitudes underwent a deep alternation of which the radical character let us suppose it was only a superficial change. Nevertheless, the SdRP, and then the SD, should be accounted as the prevalent advocates of the Polish incorporation into the European Union structures. The pro-European attitude of the social democrats gets a more distinctive appearance when compared with the scepticism so characteristic to the Polish Peasant Party as far as the integration with the European structures was concerned.61 Despite the initial doubts referring to the post-communists’ adaptation (especially from the former PZPR) to the democratic rules, both post-communist formations seem to be ‘civilised’. However, it does not imply that the SLD is perceived as the potential coalition partner by the other parties, yet it appears that so as to reach such a condition will take not as much time as in case of cutting off the mental umbilical cord joining the post-communists with the preceding system.

References Antoszewski, Wzorce rywalizacji politycznej we współczesnych demokracjach europejskich, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2004, pp. 230. Antoszewski, A., Herbut, R., Jednaka, W., Partie i system partyjny w Polsce. Pierwsza faza przej cia ku demokracji, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 1993, pp. 132. Antoszewski, A., Herbut, R., Sroka, J., System partyjny w Polsce, [in:] Andrzej Antoszewski, Petr Fiala, Ryszard Herbut, Jacek Sroka (eds.), Partie i systemy partyjne Europy rodkowej, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2003, pp. 115 - 167. Antoszewski, A., Herbut R. (eds.), Leksykon politologii, Wydawnictwo Atla 2, Wrocław 2004, pp. 556. Antoszewski, A., Erozja systemu politycznego PRL. Studium procesu, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 1992, pp. 208. 60

Marek Migalski, Stosunek polskich ugrupowa parlamentarnych do integracji z Uni Europejsk , [in:] Marek Migalski, Waldemar Wojtasik, Marek Mazur, Polski system partyjny, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 2006, p. 104. 61 Ibidem, p. 123.

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