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Democratic Audit of Poland 2014


Radosław Markowski, Michał Kotnarowski, Michał Wenzel and Marta Żerkowska-Balas

The book is a study of the state of the Polish democracy and focuses on the years 2012 and 2013. It explores available documents and statistical data, offers a collection of experts' judgments, and analyses public opinion research. Ten domains of democracy are covered, some of them as fundamental as the rule of law, the political community or public administration. The study evaluates contemporary Polish democracy as consolidated and assesses it as reasonably effective, although a number of clear shortcomings call for improvements.
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8. Party system

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“No party – no democracy.” This motto is as real as it is incomplete since there are no non-democratic regimes that could do without parties. Political parties play numerous key public roles from socialization via integration and articulation to management. Parties are indispensable in democracies since they deal with social, economic and cultural life as a whole and they cannot afford to represent sectorial interests or focus exclusively on the distributive side of politics like, for instance, trade unions. Parties do not operate in a vacuum but are instead surrounded by numerous organizations, the key elements of this surrounding are the remaining parties of a party system.

The Polish situation for a long time deviated from the democratic standards in this regard as political parties would undergo constant changes; some would disappear, some would be established anew, others would split into two or more entities and relations between them could be defined with any term but “systemic.” For a few years now, however, we have been dealing with clear institutionalization of the party system and stabilization of the parties (Markowski, Cześnik 2012).

Polish parties operate in accordance with the bill of June 27th, 1997 on political parties (Ustawa z dnia 27 czerwca 1997 r. o partiach politycznych, Dziennik Ustaw 2011 No. 155, item 924). Every political party might make use of the envisioned rights after having been entered into the register of political parties. The law defines that “political parties shape their structures and the mode...

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