Election Resources on the Internet:
Elections to the Polish Sejm, Part I
by Manuel Álvarez-Rivera

The Republic of Poland held parliamentary elections on Sunday, October 9, 2011. The electoral systems used to choose members of both houses of the Polish legislature - the Senate and the Sejm - are reviewed in Part I of this presentation.

National- and provincial-level results are available here for the following Sejm elections:

      October 9, 2011       Results       Election Map      
      October 21, 2007       Results       Election Map      
      September 25, 2005       Results       Election Map      
      September 23, 2001       Results       Election Map      

The election statistics presented in this space come from official results published by Poland's National Election Commission.


General Aspects of the Electoral System

The Parliament of the Republic of Poland is composed of a lower chamber, the Sejm, and an upper chamber, the Senate. The Sejm has greater legislative power than the Senate: bills passed by the Sejm but rejected by the Senate become law if they are approved on a subsequent Sejm vote by absolute majority.

The Sejm is composed of 460 members directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term of office. Sejm seats are filled in forty-one multi-member constituencies, where political parties and coalitions of parties present lists of candidates. Voters indicate a preference for one candidate in one list.

Sejm seats are distributed in each constituency among qualifying lists by the largest average method of proportional representation (PR), also known as the D'Hondt rule. In order to participate in the distribution of constituency seats, a party list must obtain at least five percent of all valid votes cast at the national level, while coalition lists are required to obtain at least eight percent of the vote. However, lists representing national minorities are exempt from the electoral threshold requirements.

Elections to the Senate, which is composed of 100 members, take place under a plurality vote system in forty multi-member constituencies. Electors vote for as many individual candidates as there are constituency seats to be filled: those attaining the largest number of votes in each constituency are elected for a four-year term of office.

Online Resources


Copyright © 2007-2011 Manuel Álvarez-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.
Last update: October 17, 2011.