ⓘ Polish People's Party

Polish People's Party

ⓘ Polish Peoples Party

The Polish Peoples Party Polish: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, abbreviated to PSL traditionally translated as Polish Peasants Party, often shortened to ludowcy the populars is an agrarian Christian-democratic political party in Poland. It has 14 members of the Sejm and four Members of the European Parliament. It was the junior partner in a coalition with Civic Platform. It is a member of the European Peoples Party and the European Peoples Party group in the European Parliament.

The party was formed in 1990 as 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 centrist liberal Civic Platform PO.

The partys name traces its tradition to an agrarian party in Austro-Hungarian-controlled Galician Poland, which sent MPs to the parliament in Vienna. Until the 2014 local election, the PSL formed self-government coalition in fifteen to sixteen regional assemblies.


1.1. History Before 1945

The party was formed in 1895 in the Polish town of Rzeszow under the name Stronnictwo Ludowe Peoples Party. The party changed its name in 1903 to what its known as now. The party was led by Wincenty Witos and was quite successful, seating representatives in the Galician parliament before the turn of the 19th century. In the Second Polish Republic there were a few parties named PSL until they were removed by the Sanacja regime see also Peoples Party.

During this time there were two parties using the term "Polish Peoples Party": Polish Peoples Party "Piast" and Polish Peoples Party "Wyzwolenie" which were merged into Peoples Party with Stronnictwo Chlopskie. During World War II, PSL took part in forming the Polish government in exile.


1.2. History Under the communist regime

After the war, Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, a PSL leader who had been 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.

Mikolajczyk was soon compelled to flee Poland for his life. The communists then forced the remains of Mikolajczyks PSL to unite with the pro-communist Peoples Party to form the United Peoples Party. The ZSL was a governing partner in the ruling coalition.


1.3. History 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 Wilanow 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 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.


1.4. History After 2004

The party ran in the 2004 European Parliament election as part of the European Peoples 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 centre-right conservative Civic Platform Platforma Obywatelska.


1.5. History Current situation

In European parliament elections PSL received 7.01% of votes in 2009.

In 2011 national parliamentary election Polish Peoples Party received 8.36% votes which gave them 28 seats in the Sejm and 2 mandates in the Senate.

At the 2015 parliamentary election, the PSL dropped to 5.13 percent of the vote, just barely over the 5 percent threshold. With 16 seats, it is the smallest of the five factions in the Sejm.

Since then PSL has lost even more support to PiS during the 2018 Polish local elections when they lost 87 seats and dropped to 12.07% unlike the 23.9% they got at the last local elections.

In 2019 European election PSL won 3 seats as a part of the European Coalition.

For parliamentary elections in the same year PSL decided to create centrist and Christian-democratic coalition with or without Civic Platform named as Polish Coalition. However, PO recreated Civic Coalition project with Modern and small left-wing parties although without major left-wing parties. Polish Coalition, apart from PSL, consists of Kukiz15, Union of European Democrats and another liberal, catholic and regionalist organisations.


2. Ideology

The partys platform is strongly based on agrarianism. The party advocates economic protectionism by the state especially in agriculture, and "slower privatization" although it is not against privatization. On social and ethical issues, PSL opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, soft drug decriminalization, euthanasia and death penalty. It also supports mandatory public state education and publicly funded health care.


3. Election results


Party traditionally representing farmers, peasants and rural voters generally. Voters are generally more social conservative than voters of Civic Platform. Regionally, it has more support in western parts of country. The party has less support in larger cities and mining areas of the Silesian Voivodeship. In 2019 election PSL gained surprisingly significant support in cities and won mandates e.g. in Warsaw and Wroclaw.


4. Leadership


  • Janusz Wojciechowski 2004–2005
  • Roman Bartoszcze 1990–1991
  • Janusz Piechocinski 2012–2015
  • Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz 2015–present
  • Waldemar Pawlak 1991–1997
  • Waldemar Pawlak 2005–2012
  • Jaroslaw Kalinowski 1997–2004