Open Access

Does Novelty Necessarily Mean Change? New Political Parties within the Polish Party System


The aim of the paper is to assess new political parties in Poland and to examine the question of their perceived novelty and influence on the party system. We employ Barnea and Rahat’s analytical framework to evaluate the newness of Polish parties in three party facets: party-in-the-electorate, party-as-organisation, party-in-government. This multi-dimensional analysis allows one to identify those fields in which any novelty may occur. Among the analysed factors is the new parties’ electoral base that enables one to assess whether the parties managed to mobilise a new electorate or rather attracted supporters from existing parties instead. Last but not least, we study the changes caused by these parties within the whole party system. In our research we include parties that entered the parliament for the first time after the last two elections: in 2011 and 2015. Before that time the parliamentary scene in Poland seemed to be firmly closed with a nearly constant set of actors. Both in the 2005 and 2007 elections no new parties entered parliament. Hence the 2011 election is considered to be an opening for new parties, but does not necessarily bring about a significant change in the Polish party system in terms of the electoral support for the two largest parties or within patterns of electoral competition.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Political Science, other, International Relations