League of Polish Families
|League of Polish Families
Liga Polskich Rodzin
|Founded||30 May 2001|
|Headquarters||ul. Hoża 9, 00-528 Warsaw|
|Political position||Far right|
|Politics of Poland
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The League of Polish Families (Polish: Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) is a national conservative political party in Poland. It was represented in the Polish parliament, forming part of the cabinet of Jarosław Kaczyński, until the latter dissolved in September 2007.
The LPR was created just before the elections in 2001 and gained 8% of the vote, giving it 38 out of 460 seats. Its former leader, Roman Giertych, studied Law and History at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. During his career his political alliances have included such Polish National Democrats as Jan Łopuszański, Antoni Macierewicz, Gabriel Janowski.
Roman Giertych reactivated the "All-Polish Youth" (Młodzież Wszechpolska) organization in 1989, becoming its chairman; he remains honorary chairman. For several years he was a member of the National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne) and the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe), which merged with several other organizations to form the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) in 2001.
Roman Giertych's father, Maciej Giertych, also a member of LPR, is a former member of the European Parliament. His grandfather was a member of parliament of the Second Polish Republic prior to World War II from the National Democracy Party. Some sources claim that the LPR owes much of its success to Radio Maryja, a Catholic radio station with a nationalist, ultra-conservative agenda.
The performance of League of Polish Families in the September 2001 elections, has been partly attributed to its well publicized and uncompromising attitude towards Jedwabne pogrom  During the election campaign Ryszard Bender, one of the LPR founders and leaders, participated in LPR television broadcasts denying the facts of the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941 and accusing President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who participated in commemoration ceremony, that took place in the village of Jedwabne in July 2001, of bowing to Jewish interest groups.
Soon after the election in 2001 a group of deputies separated from LPR, creating a new party known now as Polish Agreement led by Jan Łopuszański and Catholic-National Movement (Ruch Katolicko-Narodowy) led by Antoni Macierewicz.
In the 2004 elections to the European Parliament LPR received 15,2% votes, which gave it 10 out of 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament. This made the LPR the second largest party in Poland in that election, second only to the liberal conservative Civic Platform (PO), and well ahead of the then ruling post-communist Democratic Left Alliance, the populist Samoobrona and the conservative Law and Justice (PiS). However, overall turnout of that election was less than 20% of eligible voters. Thus, the long-term significance of the LPR's strong performance in that election is unclear. In the 2005 elections LPR again received 8% of votes, but saw its seats reduced from 38 to 34.
In the 2007 Parliamentary election it failed to gain the 5% of votes required to enter the Sejm and lost all the seats it previously held, in addition to failing meeting the 3% of votes requirement for eligibility to receive government funding. The leader of the party, Roman Giertych, has stepped down from his post as the party's leader, but remains a member.
The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics described the party as clerical-nationalist, the party's agenda combining conservative social values, Christian solidarism and nationalism. Adam Michnik has characterized the groups that formed the party as the heirs of the chauvinist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic organizations of the pre-war Poland.
Some of the policies the LPR opposes include: the selling of land to foreign (especially German expellees), abolishing the draft, legalization of "soft drugs", legalization of abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage. It supports capital punishment, maintaining universal health care and public education, and supports the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq. The LPR also supports the publication of the complete archives of the Polish communist secret police—in other words, full "de-Communization".
The party particularly appeals to voters sympathetic towards traditional social values, the Catholic faith, and the concept of Polish national sovereignty. Its policies also attract some who feel lost in the post-1989 political transformation of the country, although the populist Andrzej Lepper's Samoobrona ("Self Defense"), also speaking out for the 'simple man', menaced by the post 1989 changes thus appeal more directly to so-called marginalized voters. The press close to the party has published anti-semitic articles; some of the Polish politicians like Adam Michnik have been characterized as pink hyenas representing non-Polish interests, assisted by Mossad and “godless, satanical masons propagating nihilism and demoralisation.” Those “dark forces” are said to be fiercely opposed to a Catholic state of the Polish nation.
The party's opposition to same-sex marriage and several other demands of Polish gays and lesbians has led to condemnation of the party from the European Commission. The party has been labelled as antisemitic by some authors. It is also considered as staunchly homophobic.
Stance towards the European Union
The party is anti-EU. The Economist reported in 2002 that the LPR spreads the word that the EU is a communist conspiracy. Although it was the only significant political force in Poland that unconditionally opposed Polish membership in the European Union (believing that a union controlled by social liberals could never be reformed), after Polish accession to the EU the party participated in European Parliament elections, in order to have actual influence over decisions made regarding Poland. During the 2004 controversy surrounding Rocco Buttiglione (the conservative Italian nominee as European Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom, and Security"), the LPR deputies demanded the dissolution of the parliament, feeling that it was too much under the influence of a homosexual lobby..
Independence and Democracy
In 2004, 31 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden formed the new Independence/Democracy, formerly the group for Europe of Democracies and Diversities. The main goals of this group were the rejection of any European Constitution and opposition to any plans for a federal Europe.
- The League of Polish Families between East and West, past and present by Sarah L. de Langea and Simona Guerrab. In: Communist and Post-Communist Studies. Volume 42, Issue 4, December 2009, pp. 527–549
- List of League of Polish Families politicians
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- League and Self-Defense
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- (Polish) Official website