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Poland

Poland

5. Participation

5.1 General context

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  1. Main concepts
  2. Institutions of representative democracy

Main concepts

Institutions of representative democracy

Poland is a parliamentary democracy. Bicameral Parliament is selected in a free democratic election process which adheres to the principles of universal suffrage. The term of office is four years. The Polish Parliament is composed of two houses (Sejm - lower house and Senat - upper house )elected in different ways and having different powers and competences.  Active electoral (voting) rights are granted to citizens who have turned 18 years of age. The right to stand for election (passive suffrage) differs depending on the type of election. Poland is divided into 16 provinces (Polish: województwo), with districts and communes as local administrative units. The central government operates at national, provincial and district levels, whereas local governments operate at the level of provinces, districts and communes. Presidents are elected for five years in a separate presidential election process, which also adheres to the suffrage principle. The president is the head of the state.

Polish young people’s participation in representative democracy is currently being debated. Young people’s membership of political parties, trade unions and other traditional organisations active on the political scene is low. As is the case in the rest of Europe, the lowest voter turnout for elections is among the 18-24 demographic. It is also in this group that support for extreme political solutions is relatively high. On the other hand, however, active development of alternative forms of young people’s participation in social life is on the rise. These alternative forms are mainly initiated by non-governmental organisations. The common presence and relatively strong position of student governments do not always guarantee their real influence on the situation in schools. Citizenship education provided in schools enjoys extensive support in the form of programmes and projects offered by the government, EU and representatives of the Third Sector. All of the above circumstances give an ambiguous and not easily evaluable picture of active citizenship.

 

Total

18–24 years

25–30 years

18–30 years

Parliamentary elections 2019

61,741

NA

NA

46,4%5

Parliamentary elections  2015

50,921

51,802

56,502

NA

Parliamentary elections 2011

60,003

54,003

52,003a

NA

Presidential elections 2015 (I round)

48,961

NA

NA

NA

Presidential elections 2015 (II round)

55,341

NA

NA

NA

Local elections 2018

48,831

NA

NA

34,87

Local elections 2014 (I round)

47,41

NA

NA

NA

Local elections 2014 (II round)

39,971

NA

NA

NA

European Parliament elections 2019

45,71

35,406

(EU average = 41,50)

40,206a

NA

European Parliament elections 2014

23,831

14,004

(EU average = 28,00)

19,004a

NA

1 data from the National Electoral Commission

2 estimated on the basis of the survey: Polskie Generalne Studium Wyborcze. 14–29 November 2015, Centre for Public Opinion Research. Sample size: N = 1733.

3 estimated on the basis of the survey: Polskie Generalne Studium Wyborcze. 20 October - 13 November 2011, Centre for Public Opinion Research. Sample size: N = 1919.

3a data source as above, data for the 25-32 age group.

4 Post-election survey 2014, Eurobarometer.

4a data source as above, data for the 25-39 age group.

5 Exit-pool survey 2019, data for the 18-29 age group

6 Post-election survey 2019, Eurobarometer.

6a data source as above, data for the 25-39 age group.

7 Exit-pool survey 2018, data for the 18-29 age group