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History

At the beginning of 1994 the law on social organisations was adopted. According to this law, social organisations had to transform into political parties or simply remain social organizations. Till that time the Association of Poles in Lithuania (APL) was a public-political organisation. Thus it had the possibility to take part both in social and political lives.

In May 1994 the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted a resolution which gave the right to take part in elections only for parties and political organisations. Polish community which does not have its own party faced the difficult task of keeping the Association and simultaneously Show romanizationenabling its participation in the political life of Lithuania at the same time. The appointment of the party required a lot of organizational effort, e.g. arrival of at least 400 founders at a Conference in the middle of summer. What is more, rtere was no certainty as to the smooth registration of the political party in the Ministry of Justice.

In this situation the central administration of the APL convened 5th Extraordinary Conference of APL on 14th August. Shortly before the Conference an initiative group of polish party convening was established. There were 15 people in the group. Valdemar Tomaševski was the coordinator of the group. During the Conference only a right decision was adopten, i.e. to transfrom the APL into social organisation and support the efforts of the group  initiating the establishment  of a party set up under the name of the Electoral Action of the APL. Pending two weeks of intense cooperation of the APL structures, the cooperators managed to collect 739 signatures of the founders, prepare a program and a statute of the future party and carry out the Founding Conference on 28th August. Finally, on 23rd October after the pressure of the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice to remove the word ‘Union’ from the name of the party, it has been registered as the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (EAPL).

During the Founding Conference in 1994 Jan Senkevič was elected as a president from single candidacy by open vote. During the 2nd EAPL conference which took place in April 1997, there were two candidates for the president position, i.e. J. Senkevič and V. Tomaševski. J. Senkevič gained 56 votes and V. Tomaševski – 44 votes by secret vote. Thus, J. Senkevič became the president of the EAPL. In 1999 during the 3rd EAPL Conference, the vivid number of votes (from 68 to 19) was gained by V. Tomaševski. Therefore, V. Tomaševski became the president of the organisation. Moreover, V. Tomaševski was elected as a president on the 4th and 5th EAPL Conferences.

The EAPL implements the statute assumptions by taking part in various elections – starting with municipal through parliamentary and ending with the elections to the European Parliament in 2004. Unexceptionally, for more than ten years, the EAPL dominates in districts inhabited mostly by Poles: Vilnius district ( 63 percent of Poles) and Šalčininkai district (80 percent of Poles). The EAPL constantly gains about 60-70 percent of votes during municipal elections. In several other districts the EAPL is a member of ruling coalitions and influences the decisions made. During the whole period of its existence the EAPL took part in many battles in defense of the interests of the Polish minority in Lithuania. Many of them were victorious. Moreover, the EAPL have organized great protest actions in defense of Polish education, language, and land in front of the Lithuanian Seimas. Together with the APL and the Association of Polish Schools, Educational Society conducted a campaign of collecting signatures for the projects of laws on education and national minorities favourable for Polish community.

The EAPL cares for the development of Polish schools in the Vilnius district as well as for the economic development of the region. Thanks to joint efforts, over the past 20 years Polish community in Lithuania has had the most powerful position in the world comparing to other Polish communities outside the boards of mother country. There are 2204 members of the EAPL nowadays.