Values, Economy, Historical Legacies, Populism – the Left-Right Dimension in Polish Politics after Communism.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WMP Yudowitz Seminar Room 1 (University of Glasgow)
Mikołaj Cześnik , University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw
In the post-communist era the left-right dimension has had an important, though specific, impact on Polish politics. It has structured political discourse, determined voting behaviour, influenced political parties and their electoral manifestos. However, it has not been ‘stable’ – in contrast, its meaning has fluctuated and undergone interesting transformations since 1989. Consequently, this paper investigates the ‘content’ of the left-right dimension in Poland in diachronic perspective. We study the nature of the opposition, its ideological, economic, social and political ‘content’, main correlates of the ‘left’ and ‘right’. We also investigate the relationships between left-right scale and other important socio-political variables and phenomena (such as voter turnout, voting behaviour, party identification, populism etc.). These relationships are analysed in diachronic perspective. Data from the Polish National Election Study project (years 1997-2015) are used. We find that the left-right dimension is still the key aspect of electoral politics in Poland, but its meaning (understanding, definition) slowly, but constantly evaluates.