Primary Sources

Polish Voting Rights


This campaign poster for the Polish Solidarity movement shows Polish voters what was at stake in the upcoming elections in June 1989. Under the terms of the arrangement negotiated with the Communist party, 35% of the seats in the Lower House of the parliament (Sejm) were to be freely contested. However, voters could also vote "no" on candidates for the other seats and if a candidate received a 50% "no" vote, then he or she was disqualified from standing in the second election that would be required. Wherever candidates received a majority "no" vote, the second election for that seat would be open to all candidates—Solidarity or Communist. This poster shows voters that if 0% of Solidarity candidates were to win, the flag would remain entirely red (Communist). If the 35% of seats allotted for open competition were won by Solidarity, then the flag would be a little less Communist. But if Solidarity candidates were to 100% of the races, then the flag would be the Polish national flag (the red and white bars). Thus, Solidarity was making the case that a vote against the Communists and for Solidarity would also be a vote to restore Poland's national sovereignty.


"Solidarnosc," 1989, item II A 5, courtesy of Solidarity Collection, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery.

How to Cite this Source

"Polish Voting Rights," Making the History of 1989, Item #93, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:27 pm).