Polish People’s Party (Polske Stronictwo Ludowe, PSL)

Polish People’s Party was renewed immediately after the fall of the communist regime in Poland in 1989. PSL played an important role in the Second Polish Republic after the First World War. However under the regimes of Józef Piłsudski the party lost its influence in Polish politics. During the Second World War PSL took part in the exile government. After the war PSL was controlled by the communists and went under the name United People’s Party (Zjednoczono Stronnictwo Ludowe, ZLN). In the general election in 1997 both coalition parties suffered great losses. PSL managed to get just 7.3 % of the vote and lost more than one hundred seats in the Sejm. After the election the party leader Pawlak was replaced by Jarosław Kalinowski. Kalinowski led PSL into the general election of 2001 which saw a return of the leftwing government. However PSL did not improve its gains as significantly as SLD, receiving just 9% of the vote. This disappointing result could be explained by the success of the new radical agrarian party, Self-Defence of the Polish Republic. In 2003, and due to growing disagreements with SLD, PSL left the government and went into opposition. In 2004 Janusz Wojciechowski replaced Kalinowski as the leader of the party, to be again replaced in 2005 by Pawlak. In the general elections of 2005 and, subsequently, in 2007, PSL gained respectively seven and nine percent of the vote. In 2005 the party remained in opposition but after 2007 joined government as a junior partner of the centre-right Civic Platform.

  2009 2014
Election gains
Votes 7.01% 6.8%
Seats 3 4

Electoral manifesto of 2005

The electoral program of PSL for the election of 2005 was mostly concerned with foreign capital and its influence in Poland. PSL criticized the process of privatization: the transfer, according to the party, of Poland's national wealth into the hands of foreign investors. The manifesto suggested that foreign investors and capital were exploiting Poland and the Polish population. Because of this the contracts made between the state and foreign investors should be opened and carefully audited. However it was not just unprofitable contracts and disadvantageous conditions which PSL stood against. Its 2005 manifesto criticized the concept of foreign ownership of strategic businesses and sectors of the national economy. According to PSL, limitations to foreign ownership should apply to the energy sector, state forests, railway companies and even the media. The state should also support Polish enterprises and businesses. On several occasions the manifesto also called for limits to the growing number of supermarkets which have a negative effect on Polish commerce. From the above-mentioned, it can be concluded that PSL perceived economic globalization as a negative trend. In spite of some very protectionist policies and distrust towards foreign capital, the examined manifesto did not consider foreign capital as being used by political forces abroad. In order to cultivate and secure both Polish identity and culture, Europe should remain just a free organization of sovereign nation states. Patriotism is an integral part of the PSL political manifesto of 2005, and in line with this Poland should be respected in Europe due to its historical achievements and its significant size and power. PSL advocated an active, confident and sovereign foreign policy in Europe and also around the world. Within its foreign policy proposals, PSL was in favour of terminating the military involvement of the Polish army in Iraq.

Election manifesto 2007

The PSL manifesto of 2007 still considered Polish identity and culture to be the object of the state’s protection. Patriotism was still the powerful force behind many of the proposed policies, and a strong Poland in the international arena remained the main purpose of the foreign policy. However, what changed was the party's view about how to achieve this goal. PSL in 2007 called for a European Poland because a “strong Poland means Europe in Poland”, and also that any improvement of Poland's international position is possible only through internal change. The manifesto also supported improving relations – that had deteriorated in the foregoing years – with neighbouring countries