Polish People's Party

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Polish People's Party

Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe
Leader Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz
Founded1895 (current name adopted in 1903)
1990 (current party)
Merger ofPolish People's Party (Wilanów faction)
Polish People's Party "Rebirth" (successor of United People's Party)
Splittings from Rural Solidarity and Polish People's Party "Solidarity"
Preceded by United People's Party
Headquartersul. Kopernika 36/40, 00-924 Warsaw
Membership (2015)140,000 [1]
Ideology Historical (1990s):
Political position Centre [10] to centre-right [11] [12]
Historical (1990s):
Centre-left to left-wing
National affiliation Polish Coalition
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours  Green
19 / 460
2 / 100
European Parliament
3 / 52
Regional assemblies
70 / 552

The Polish People's Party (Polish : Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe), abbreviated to PSL (traditionally translated as Polish Peasants' Party), often shortened to ludowcy ('the populars') is an agrarian [14] [15] [16] Christian-democratic [16] [17] political party in Poland. It is a member of the European People's Party and the European People's Party group in the European Parliament.


The party's name traces its tradition to an agrarian party in Austro-Hungarian-controlled Galician Poland, which sent MPs to the parliament in Vienna. [18]


Before 1945

The party was formed in 1895 in the Polish town of Rzeszow under the name Stronnictwo Ludowe (People's Party). The party changed its name in 1903 to what it's 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 (Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie", Polish People's Party "Piast", Polish People's Party "Left" and others) until they were removed by the Sanacja regime (see also People's Party).

During this time, there were two parties using the term "Polish People's Party", namely Polish People's Party "Piast" and Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie" (which were merged into People's Party with Stronnictwo Chłopskie). During World War II, PSL took part in forming the Polish government in exile.

Under the communist regime

Support for the PSL by region in 2007 Polish parliamentary election PSL w Powiatach Barry Kent.png
Support for the PSL by region in 2007 Polish parliamentary election

After the war, Stanisław Mikołajczyk, 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.

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 a governing partner in the ruling coalition. [19]

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 remained on the left of Polish politics in the 1990s, entering into coalitions with the postcommunist Democratic Left Alliance. 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.

After 2004

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 centre-right conservative Civic Platform.

In European parliament elections PSL received 7.01% of votes in 2009. [20]

In the 2011 national parliamentary election, Polish People's Party received 8.36% votes which gave them 28 seats in the Sejm and 2 mandates in the Senate. [21] 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 was the smallest of the five factions in the Sejm. [22]

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. After this, the party became junior partner in coalitions with Civic Coalition and SLD.

In 2019 European election, PSL won 3 seats as a part of the European Coalition. [23]

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. [24] However, PO recreated Civic Coalition with Modern and small left-wing parties (although without major left-wing parties). Polish Coalition, apart from PSL, consists of Kukiz'15, Union of European Democrats and another liberal, catholic and regionalist organisations. [25] [26] [27] This coalition resulted in election of 30 members. Majority of them (20) were members of PSL.


The party's platform is strongly based on neo-agrarianism. [2] On social and ethical issues, PSL opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, soft drug decriminalization, euthanasia and death penalty. [28]

In 2019, the party adopted (as part of an agreement with Kukiz'15) in the party's platform direct democracy's postulates, including single-member districts and obligatory referendum. [29]

Election results


The Party's traditional support base consisted of farmers, peasants and rural voters. Voters are generally more social conservative than voters of Civic Platform. [30] The main concurrent in rural areas is national conservative Law and Justice (PiS). [31]

In the 2010s the party started to lose support between rural voters (especially in southeast of Poland). In 2019 election PSL gained surprisingly significant support in cities and won mandates (e. g. in Warsaw and Wrocław). [32]


Election year# of
 % of
# of
overall seats won
1989 [33] 16.5 (#3)
76 / 460
Decrease2.svg 41Coalition
1991 972,9528.7 (#5)
48 / 460
Decrease2.svg 28Government Support
1993 2,124,36715.4 (#2)
132 / 460
Increase2.svg 84Coalition
1997 956,1847.3 (#4)
27 / 460
Decrease2.svg 105Opposition
2001 1,168,6599.0 (#5)
42 / 460
Increase2.svg 15Coalition until 2003
2005 821,6567.0 (#6)
25 / 460
Decrease2.svg 17Opposition
2007 1,437,6388.9 (#4)
31 / 460
Increase2.svg 6Coalition
2011 1,201,6288.4 (#4)
28 / 460
Decrease2.svg 3Coalition
2015 779,8755.1 (#6)
16 / 460
Decrease2.svg 12Opposition
2019 1,578,5238.6 (#4)
20 / 460
Increase2.svg 4Opposition
As part of Polish Coalition, which won 30 seats in total.


Election year# of
overall seats won
7 / 100
Increase2.svg 4
36 / 100
Increase2.svg 29
3 / 100
Decrease2.svg 33
4 / 100
Increase2.svg 1
2 / 100
Decrease2.svg 2
0 / 100
Decrease2.svg 2
2 / 100
Increase2.svg 2
1 / 100
Decrease2.svg 1
2019 [34] [35]
2 / 100
Increase2.svg 1


Election yearCandidate1st round2nd round
# of overall votes % of overall vote# of overall votes % of overall vote
1990 Roman Bartoszcze 1,176,1757.2 (#5)
1995 Waldemar Pawlak 770,4194.3 (#5)
2000 Jarosław Kalinowski 1,047,9496.0 (#4)
2005 Jarosław Kalinowski 269,3161.8 (#5)
2010 Waldemar Pawlak 294,2731.8 (#5)
2015 Adam Jarubas 238,7611.6 (#6)
2020 Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz 459,3652.4 (#5)

Regional assemblies

Election year % of
# of
overall seats won
1998 12.0 (#3)
89 / 855
As part of the Social Alliance.
2002 10.8 (#5)
58 / 561
Decrease2.svg 31
2006 13.2 (#4)
83 / 561
Increase2.svg 25
2010 16.3 (#3)
93 / 561
Increase2.svg 10
2014 23.9 (#3)
157 / 555
Increase2.svg 64
2018 12.1 (#3)
70 / 552
Decrease2.svg 87

European Parliament

Election year# of
 % of
# of
overall seats won
2004 386,3406.3 (#7)
4 / 54
2009 516,1467.0 (#4)
3 / 50
Decrease2.svg 1
2014 480,8466.8 (#5)
4 / 51
Increase2.svg 1
2019 5,249,93538.5 (#2)
3 / 52
Decrease2.svg 1
As the European Coalition which won 22 seats in total



Voivodeship Marshals

NameImageVoivodeshipDate Vocation
Adam Struzik Adam Struzik; 2015.jpg Masovian Voivodeship 10 December 2001
Gustaw Marek Brzezin Gustaw Marek Brzezin (cropped).jpg Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship 12 December 2014

See also

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