Local authorities are the only democratically elected public institution in Poland that has been enjoying stable positive opinions of the residents since the very moment of its formation. At the same time, however, elections to local councils are characterised by a very low turn-out. The article presents a brief description of the history of formation of local governments and the evolution of opinions about local authorities, and characterizes all the local elections held so far: in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002. Against the background of the general political situation the article presents changes in the principles governing the elections, turn-out at the polls and the results of elections. The final part of the article deals with the reasons for low turn-out and the role of political parties in the development of local democracy.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.