Civic Platform

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The Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO) is a liberal conservative political party in Poland. It has formed Poland's government since the 2007 general election, and is the largest party in the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament. Civic Platform is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).



The Civic Platform was founded in 2001 as a split-off from existing parties. Founders Andrzej Olechowski, Maciej Płażyński, and Donald Tusk were sometimes jokingly called "the Three Tenors" by Polish media and commentators. Olechowski and Płażyński left the party during the 2001-2005 parliamentary term, leaving Donald Tusk as the sole remaining founder, and current party leader.

In the 2001 general election the party secured 12.6% of the vote and 58 deputies in the Sejm, making it the largest party in opposition to the government led by the Democratic Left Alliance.

In 2005, the PO led all opinion polls with 26% to 30% of public support. However, in the 2005 general election, in which it was led by Jan Rokita, the PO polled 24.1% and came second to Law and Justice's 27%. A coalition of PO and PiS (nicknamed:PO-PiS) was deemed most likely to form a government after the election. Yet the putative coalition parties had a falling out in the wake of the fiercely contested Polish presidential election in 2005.

Lech Kaczyński (PiS) won the second round of the presidential election on 23 October 2005 with 54% of the vote, ahead of Donald Tusk, the PO candidate. Due to the demands of PiS for control of all the armed ministries (the MOD, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the office of the Prime Minister, PO and PiS were unable to form a coalition. Instead, PiS formed a coalition with the support of the conservative Catholic-nationalist League of Polish Families and the agrarian-populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland. The PO became the opposition to this PiS-led coalition government.

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