Polish People's Party
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|Polish People's Party|
|Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe|
since 17 November 2012
|Founded||5 May 1990|
|Headquarters||ul. Kopernika 36/40, 00-924 Warsaw|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
|Politics of Poland
The Polish People's Party (Polish: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, abbreviated to PSL (traditionally translated as Polish Peasants' Party), is an agrarian and Christian democratic political party in Poland. It currently has 29 members of the Sejm, one member of the Senate, and three Members of the European Parliament. It is the junior partner in a coalition with Civic Platform.
The party was formed in 1990. Originally a left-wing party, the PSL formed a coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) after winning 132 seats in the Sejm at the 1993 election, with PSL leader Waldemar Pawlak as Prime Minister until 1995. The party fell to 27 at the next election, and moved towards the centre at the end of the 1990s. In 2001, the party re-entered a coalition with the SLD, but withdrew in 2003. After the 2007 election, the PSL entered a coalition with the centre-right Civic Platform (PO).
After Poland regained independence with the end of the World War I in 1918, the party merged with agrarian groups from territories previously occupied by Imperial Russia and formed the first PSL led by Wincenty Witos, becoming one of the most important political parties in the Second Polish Republic until it was removed by the Sanacja regime (see also People's Party).
During this time there were two parties using the term "Polish People's Party": Polish People's Party "Piast" and Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie". During World War II, PSL took part in forming the Polish government in exile.
Under communist regime
After the war, Stanisław Mikołajczyk, a PSL leader and previously Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile, returned to communist-dominated Poland, where he joined the provisional government and rebuilt PSL. The party hoped to win the Yalta Conference-mandated elections and help establish a parliamentary system in Poland. The communists formed a rival peasant party allied with them. The 1947 parliamentary election was heavily rigged, with the Communist-controlled bloc claiming to have won 80 percent of the vote. Many neutral observers believe the PSL would have won the election had it been conducted fairly.
Mikołajczyk was soon compelled to flee Poland for his life. The Communists then forced the remains of Mikołajczyk's PSL to unite with the pro-Communist People's Party to form the United People's Party. The ZSL was formally a governing partner in the ruling coalition.
After the fall of the regime
Around the time of the fall of communism several PSLs were recreated, including: Porozumienie Ludowe, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe - Odrodzenie, and Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (Wilanów faction). In 1989 most merged into one party and took part in forming the first postwar noncommunist government in Poland with the Solidarity grouping, and in 1990 changed its name to PSL.
It originally remained on the left of Polish politics in the 1990s, entering into coalitions with the postcommunist Democratic Left Alliance. However, in the 2001 parliamentary elections PSL received 9% of votes and formed a coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance, an alliance which later broke down. Since then PSL has moved towards more centrist and conservative policies.
The party ran in the 2004 European Parliament election as part of the European People's Party (EPP) and received 6% of the vote, giving it 4 of 54 Polish seats in the European Parliament. In the 2005 general election the party received 7% of votes, giving it 25 seats in the Sejm and 2 in the Senate. In the 2007 parliamentary elections the party placed fourth, with 8.93% of the vote and 31 out of 460 seats, and entered into a governing coalition with the victor, the centrist-conservative Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska).
In European parliament elections PSL received 7.01% of votes in 2009.
The party's platform is strongly based around agrarianism. Economically, the party advocates state interventionism (especially in agriculture), and "slower privatization" (although it is not against privatization). On social and ethical issues, PSL opposes abortion, same-sex marriage/civil unions, soft drug decriminalization, euthanasia and death penalty. It also supports mandatory public (state) education and publicly funded health care.
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