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Miller attacks new leftist grouping

PR dla Zagranicy
Jo Harper 29.06.2015 16:17
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Leszek Miller has attacked a new left of centre grouping set up by ex-SLD figure Grzegorz Napieralski.
SLD leader Leszek Miller at an SLD press conference on 27 June  in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Tomasz GzellSLD leader Leszek Miller at an SLD press conference on 27 June in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

“The Polish left should try and unite, not split, this initiative is working in the opposite direction,” Miller said.

Napieralski, who recently left the SLD, and Rozenek, until recently a member of small left of centre grouping, Your Movement (TR), said at the weekend they are planning to start up a new left of centre party, to be called the White and Reds (BC).

The SLD, which consistently gained 30-40 percent of the vote at elections from 1993 to 2001, has seen its popularity collapse since it was last in government in 2005. It now hovers on or around the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The ruling right of centre party Civil Platform (PO) and another right of centre party, the opposition Law and Justice (PiS), have since 2005 dominated what has come to resemble a two-party system.

The SLD is a direct descendent of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), which governed Poland for over 40 years until the semi-free elections which were held in 1989. It surprised many winning the election in 1993 and then again in 2001.

Despite disparate attempts to regroup, the Polish left has struggled to find a coherent voice over the last decade and this splintering could again harbinger further electoral decline.

Speaking in Gdańsk on Monday, Miller said: “We are in a situation where we are testing the understandings between various left groupings under the patronage of the OPZZ [trades union]. Work is ongoing, both programmatic and organisational.”

Napieralski is in favor of liberalising the abortion law and of government reimbursement for IVF fertilisation and contraception. He supports same sex civil unions, and is a supporter of separation of church and state. On April 22, 2010 the SLD chose Napieralski to replace Jerzy Szmajdziński as its candidate in the presidential election. Napieralski finished third, receiving 13.68 percent of the vote. In December 2011 he was succeeded by Miller as party chairman.

Miller said at the weekend that the SLD is opposed changes in the electoral system. A referendum set for 6 August will ask Poles to decide whether to change to a UK-style first-past-the-post system in Poland from a PR-based system. (jh)

tags: new party, SLD
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