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Polish Election 2011 made simple – Part 2

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 29.09.2011 15:18
Welcome to the second part of our guide to the Polish parliamentary election. This time, two parties in with a shout to become junior partners in a possible coalition government after Poles go to the polls on 9 October.

Democratic Left Alliance (SLD)

Leader: Grzegorz Napieralski

Party slogan: We know what to change

Profile: Poland’s third largest party in parliament, SLD is a social democratic group which has its roots in the former communist Polish United Workers Party (PZPR).

“After six years of right-wing [Law and Justice then Civic Platform] governments, Poles expect new vision, ideas and energy. With SLD this is guaranteed. We know what needs to change to make life better,” writes leader Grzegorz Napieralski in the party election manifesto.

The manifesto advocates hiking of tax levels for higher earners, as well as increasing benefits for families and raising the minimum wage.

SLD is for the creation of the ‘Kaliningrad Triangle’, an alliance of Poland, Germany and Russia, based on the already existing Weimar Triangle between Poland, France and Germany.

The party wants the abolition of religious symbols from public institutions and signing of the EU’s Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, which Poland has so far opted out of, alongside the UK and Czech Republic.

Polish Peasants’ Party (PSL)

Leader: Deputy prime minister / economy minister Waldemar Pawlak

Party slogan: People are the most important

Profile: PSL, formerly a left-of-centre, now centrist party, has a mainly rural and small town electoral base, with roots dating back to the inter-war period and, under the guise of the United People's Party (ZSL) was officially recognised during communism.

For the last four years, PSL has been the junior coalition partner in the Civic Platform-led government.

PSL's manifesto advocates “stable and sustainable growth”, underlining that “the largest capital for the Polish economy is the individual.”

Leader Waldemar Pawlak, a former prime minister during 1990s coalition governments (once for just 33 days in 1992 and then from 1993 to 95) is often seen clutching an iPad during press conferences, and is known for his advocacy of technical innovation in industry.

The party wants a far-reaching debate and a referendum on whether to go ahead with Poland's nuclear power programme, however.

Their manifesto emphasises five main themes: "social security, food, economy, environmental safety and state".(jb/pg)

See Election 2011 made simple - Part 1 here

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