Left and Democrats

Left and Democrats
Lewica i Demokraci
Leader Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Jan Litynski
Founded 3 September 2006
Dissolved April 2008
Headquarters ul. Rozbrat 44 A, 00-419 Warsaw
Ideology Social democracy
Social liberalism
Political position Centre-left[1]
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Left and Democrats (Polish: Lewica i Demokraci, LiD) was a centre-left electoral alliance of political parties in Poland which was created on 3 September 2006, before the Warsaw municipal election of 2006. The coalition's aim was to provide an alternative for both Law and Justice and Civic Platform, which have been Poland's two major political parties since 2005. LiD contested their first national election in October, 2007 and won 53 seats to the Polish parliament, the Sejm. The LiD alliance was dissolved in April 2008, following a rift between the member parties.


On September 15, 2006, the Coalition Election Committee was officially appointed under the name of "SLD+SdPl+PD+UP – Lewica i Demokraci" (containing the abbreviations for all the member parties as well as the name 'Leftists and Democrats'). The four member parties were:

At the beginning, the coalition was created only to enter candidates in regional councils. However, later it functioned during elections to many other, smaller units of local government, such as mayorships and town councils.

The September 2006 Agreement that founded the coalition accused the then incumbent government, led by the Law and Justice party, of causing an erosion of democracy in Poland. Wojciech Olejniczak, the chairman of Democratic Left Alliance, argued that the only true alternative to Law and Justice would be a coalition of the centre and left parties, alleging that Civic Platform, then the largest opposition party in the Polish Sejm, was too close politically to the Law and Justice Party.

The party's founding act also emphasized such elements as local government, Poland as part of an "open and modern Europe", protection of democratic institutions and separation of powers, opposition to a "closed" foreign policy, and support for pluralism and tolerance as the hallmarks of a democratic society.

Polish local elections, 2006


Parties creating the coalition decided to follow three main principles in the lead up to the 2006 local elections:

Candidates for Mayors

This table includes all candidates officially affiliated with, or supported by, the coalition in the 2006 local elections.

candidate city party result (%) result (votes) position other
Marek Borowski Warszawa SDPL 23.24% 9889 3 ----
Jacek Majchrowski Kraków independent 42.31% 103157 1 elected as mayor in the runoff
Krzysztof Pusz Gdańsk PD 5.12% 8122 3 ----
Jacek Piechota Szczecin SLD 27.91% 38059 2 promoted to the runoff
Andrzej Nowakowski Poznań SLD ---- ---- 4 ----
Izabella Sierakowska Lublin SDPL 25.31% 28777 1 promoted to the runoff
Krzysztof Makowski Łódź SLD 23.33% 51758 3 ----
Joanna Grzela Kielce SLD 20.65% 13575 2 ----
Andrzej Namyslo Opole SLD ---- ---- ---- ----
Tomasz Czajkowski Wrocław SLD ---- ---- ---- ----
Marek Szczerbowski Katowice SLD 5.49% 5323 4 ----
Janusz Kochan Białystok SLD 9.67% 8550 3 ----
Stanisław Szatkowski Olsztyn SLD ---- ---- ---- ----
Tadeusz Ferenc Rzeszów SLD 76.59% 48131 1 elected as mayor
Zbigniew Kosmaty Piła independent 46.16% 10577 1 elected as mayor in the runoff
Janusz Kubicki Zielona Góra SLD ---- ---- ---- elected as mayor in the runoff
Tadeusz Jędrzejczak Gorzów Wielkopolski independent 50.6% 18575 1 elected as mayor
Kazimierz Górski Sosnowiec SLD 51.00% ---- 1 elected as mayor
Jan Szczęśniewski Świętochłowice SDPL 8.15% 1293 3 ----
Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk Częstochowa SLD 20.83% 14683 3 ----
Jerzy Balon Bielsko-Biała SLD 5.25% 3038 5 ----
Krzysztof Wójcik Bytom SLD 17.29% 8178 3 ----
Marzena Dobrowolska Gdynia SLD 5.21% 5009 3 ----
Henryk Słonina Elbląg independent 58.22% 21977 1 elected as mayor
Janusz Łapiński Gliwice SLD 12.03% 6482 3 ----
Eugeniusz Ochryciuk Łomża independent 2.70% 530 7 ----
Zbigniew Jastrzębski Sopot SLD ---- ---- ---- ----
Sylwester Kwiecień Starachowice SLD ---- 5963 1 promoted to the runoff
Krzysztof Bazula Tarnów SLD 3.63% 1378 6 ----
Jerzy Wereta Zabrze SLD ---- 5172 5 ----
Zbigniew Podraza Dąbrowa Górnicza SLD ---- ---- ---- elected as mayor in the runoff
Kazimierz Zięba Rybnik SDPL ---- ---- ---- ----
Sławomir Lis Jastrzębie-Zdrój SLD ---- ---- ---- ----
Edmund Stachowicz Starogard Gdański SLD 58.29% ---- 1 elected as mayor

Comparison of the Results of the 2006 Elections

type of election number of votes % of votes number of the elected % of the elected
to provincial assemblies 1910009 14.25% 66 11.76%
to district councils ---- 8.87% 468 7.45%
to municipal councils ---- 8.78% 1357 3.40%
for commune heads and mayors of towns and cities ---- ---- 42 1.71%

Polish parliamentary elections, 2007

Although the coalition was initially conceived as a temporary electoral alliance for the 2006 local elections, cooperation between the parties continued, and on January 18, 2007, a Political Negotiating Committee headed by former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski was created, for the purpose of clarifying a common centre-left political program.

The members of the Political Negotiating Committee were:

LiD contested their first national elections in October, 2007. Aleksander Kwaśniewski led the campaign, as the nominal head of the coalition, and its candidate for Prime Minister. LiD managed to take 13.2% of the national vote, and 53 seats, therefore achieving third place after the Civic Platform & Law and Justice parties, respectively. Of the 53 seats gained, the SLD took 37 seats, SDPL took 10, PD took 1, whilst non-party candidates took 5 seats (3 candidates were affiliated with the SLD and 2 affiliated with PD). The 4th coalition partner, the UP, did not win any seats. LiD did not manage to elect any of its members to the upper house Senate. Following the elections, LiD was not invited to participate in the coalition of the victorious Civic Platform with the agrarian Polish People's Party (PSL). Nevertheless, LiD held some leverage in the new Sejm, as the government on occasion needed its votes to overturn presidential vetos on government legislation. Kwaśniewski announced his resignation from the leadership of LiD, following the outcome of the election.

LiD Parliamentary parliamentary group (2007-2008)


There were several factors which led to the collapse of the LiD alliance. One of the issues was the internal disappointment with the alliance's performance in the 2007 elections. Some groups within the leading SLD party perceived that the main beneficiaries of the alliance were the SDPL and PD parties, whilst the SLD parliamentary representation dropped from 55 to 40 seats, when compared to the 2005 election. In the view of this group, SLD could have performed just as well or better outside of LiD. Another issue was the ideological and policy differences between the social-democratic parties (SLD, SDPL, UP) and the liberal-centrist PD. Whilst the social democrats were largely opposed to the proposed Missile Defence system project under negotiation between Poland and the U.S, the PD supported the move. The left also supported more liberal abortion laws and a more critical position of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, whilst the PD had concerns with this direction. Furthermore, there were suspicions within the smaller parties (SDPL, PD) as to SLD's strength and domination of LiD, whilst many of SLD's rank and file members were unhappy with being in alliance with SDPL, which was an offshoot party created through a very public and divisive split within SLD in 2004. On 29 March 2008, SLD leader Wojciech Olejniczak, surprised his allies by issuing a media release announcing that the alliance between SLD and PD was over, as the SLD was unable to work with PD any longer. This essentially meant that the SLD was ejecting PD from the LiD alliance, without having consulted them or the other constituent LiD parties. This decision drew sharp criticism, not only from the PD, but also Aleksander Kwaśniewski, SDPL leader Marek Borowski and even from within the SLD itself. Olejniczak was one of the architects of LiD and one of its strongest defenders within the SLD. Commentators of the Polish political scene generally explain the motivation of the course of action taken by Olejniczak and his supporters, as relating to the impending battle for the leadership of the party at the SLD June party conference, between Olejniczak himself and the party general-secretary, Grzegorz Napieralski, who dominated the SLD left-wing and was known for his LiD-sceptic views. Although Olejniczak indicated his hope that the LiD parliamentary caucus would remain intact irrespective of the LiD/PD split, on April 1, the 3 PD parliamentarians left the LiD caucus, to form a separate parliamentary group. After the SDPL leadership consulted on how that party should respond to the crisis within LiD, Borowski announced his party's support for a resumption of talks between all parties, with the aim of rebuilding LiD, to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. This proposal was rejected by the SLD, and consequently, on 19 April Borowski announced his party's withdrawal from LiD. On 23 April, 8 out of 10 SDPL's M.P's, left the LiD caucus, to form the separate grouping called SDPL-New Left (SDPL-Nowa Lewica). The remainder of LiD M.P's (40 from SLD and 2 from SDPL) renamed themselves "Lewica" - The Left, and the LiD alliance formally came to an end.

External links


  1. Jennifer Lees-Marshment (2 July 2009). Political Marketing: Principles and Applications. Routledge. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-1-134-08411-1.
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