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League of Polish Families
Liga Polskich Rodzin
Leader Mirosław Orzechowski
Founded 30 May 2001
Headquarters ul. Hoża 9, 00-528 Warsaw
Ideology National conservatism,
Social conservatism,
Christian right
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament Group None
Official colours Blue
Website
http://www.lpr.pl/
Politics of Poland
Political parties
Elections
Poland

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The League of Polish Families (Polish: Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) is a right-wing[1] political party in Poland. It was represented in the Polish parliament, forming part of the cabinet of Jarosław Kaczyński[2], until the latter dissolved in September 2007[3].

Contents

History

The LPR was created just before the elections in 2001 and gained 8% of the vote, giving it 38 out of 460 seats. Its former leader, Roman Giertych, studied Law and History at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. During his career his political alliances have included such Polish National Democrats as Jan Łopuszański, Antoni Macierewicz[4], Gabriel Janowski[5].

Roman Giertych's father, Maciej Giertych, also a member of LPR, is a member of the European Parliament. His grandfather was a member of parliament of the Second Polish Republic prior to World War II from the National Democracy Party. Some sources claim that the LPR owes much of its success to Radio Maryja, a Catholic radio station with a nationalist, ultra-conservative agenda.

The performance of League of Polish Families in the September 2001 elections, has been partly attributed to its well publicized and uncompromising attitude towards Jedwabne pogrom [6] During the election campaign Ryszard Bender, one of the LPR founders and leaders, participated in LPR television broadcasts denying the facts of the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941 and accusing President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who participated in commemoration ceremony, that took place in the village of Jedwabne in July 2001, of bowing to Jewish interest groups [7].

Soon after the election in 2001 a group of deputies separated from LPR, creating a new party known now as Porozumienie Polskie (Polish Circle) led by Jan Łopuszański and Ruch Katolicko-Narodowy (Catholic-National Movement) led by Antoni Macierewicz.[citation needed]

In the 2004 elections to the European Parliament LPR received 15,2 % votes, which gave it 10 out of 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament. This made the LPR the second largest party in Poland in that election, second only to the liberal conservative Platforma Obywatelska, and well ahead of the then ruling post-communist Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, the populist Samoobrona and the conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (also known as PiS). However, overall turnout of that election was less than 20% of eligible voters. Thus, the long-term significance of the LPR's strong performance in that election is unclear. In the 2005 elections LPR again received 8% of votes, but saw its seats reduced from 38 to 34. In the 2007 Parliamentary election it failed to gain the 5% of votes required to enter the Sejm and lost all the seats it previously held, in addition to failing meeting the 3% of votes requirement for eligibility to receive government funding. The leader of the party, Roman Giertych, has stepped down from his post as the party's leader, but remains a member.

Some present or former members of LPR (including Janusz Dobrosz) and 5 of its MEPs moved to Forward Poland in 2008/9.

Ideology

The political agenda is a mix of nationalism and Christian solidarism. Recently the party has begun to emphasize patriotism and conservative social values. The party combines social conservatism with isolationism and left-wing economic policies, based upon its own interpretation of Catholic social teaching.[citation needed]

Some of the things LPR opposes include: the selling of land to foreign (especially German Heimatvertriebene), abolishing the draft, legalization of "soft drugs", legalization of abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage. It supports capital punishment, maintaining universal health care and public education, and supports the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq. The LPR also supports the publication of the complete archives of the Polish communist secret police -- in other words, full "de-Communization".[citation needed]

The party particularly appeals to voters sympathetic towards traditional social values, the Catholic faith, and the concept of Polish national sovereignty. Its policies also attract some who feel lost in the post-1989 political transformation of the country, although the populist Andrzej Lepper's Samoobrona ("Self Defense"), also speaking out for the 'simple man', menaced by the post 1989 changes[8] thus appeal more directly to so-called marginalized voters.

Roman Giertych

Roman Giertych reactivated the "All-Polish Youth" (Młodzież Wszechpolska) organization in 1989, becoming its chairman; he remains honorary chairman. For several years he was a member of the National-Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Narodowo-Demokratyczne) and the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe), which merged with several other organizations to form the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) in 2001.

Stance towards the European Union

The party is anti-EU. Although it was the only significant political force in Poland that unconditionally opposed Polish membership in the European Union (believing that a union controlled by social liberals could never be reformed), after Polish accession to the EU the party participated in European Parliament elections, in order to have actual influence over decisions made regarding Poland. During the 2004 controversy surrounding Rocco Buttiglione (the conservative Italian nominee as European Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom, and Security"), the LPR deputies demanded the dissolution of the parliament, feeling that it was too much under the influence of a homosexual lobby.

Independence and Democracy

In 2004, 31 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden formed the new Independence and Democracy, formerly the group for Europe of Democracies and Diversities. The main goals of this group are the rejection of any European Constitution and opposition to any plans for a federal Europe.

Criticism

The party's opposition to same-sex marriage and several other demands of Polish gays and lesbians has led to condemnation of the party from the European Commission[9]. The party has been labelled as antisemitic by some authors.[10][11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Jim Brunsden (7 June 2009). "Right wins big victory in Poland". European Voice. http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/2009/06/right-wins-big-victory-in-poland/65105.aspx. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Bloomberg.com: Europe
  3. ^ Centre-Right Parties Almost Tied in Poland: Angus Reid Global Monitor
  4. ^ The neighbors respond: the controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland, Antony Polonsky, Joanna B. Michlic, p. 70
  5. ^ Not Quite a Revolution, Published: Friday 15 November 2002
  6. ^ Stefan Auer (2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. pp. 67. ISBN 0415314798. 
  7. ^ Cas Mudde (2005). Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. London: Routledge. pp. 159. ISBN 0415355931. OCLC 55228719. 
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=olpKYhgrS48C&pg=PA364&dq=Liga+Polskich+Rodzin&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1970&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1978&as_brr=3
  9. ^ Poland: School Censorship Proposal Threatens Basic Rights (Human Rights Watch, 19-3-2007)
  10. ^ Mudde, Cas (2005). Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge. pp. 159. ISBN 978-0415355933. http://books.google.com/books?id=YB-ZwiBf5HgC&pg=RA1-PA159&dq=%22league+of+Polish+families%22+anti-semitic&ei=7rVYSPUcqJKOAaDJsYgM&client=firefox-a&sig=L4dAAkYSG8wEuPkPC6yP9uYKyYw. 
  11. ^ Michlic, Joanna B. (2006). Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 363. ISBN 978-0803232402. http://books.google.com/books?id=t6h2pI7o_zQC&pg=PA363&dq=%22league+of+Polish+families%22+anti-semitic&ei=7rVYSPUcqJKOAaDJsYgM&client=firefox-a&sig=8dwRwVp5LolT931EROm5y3j6lPg. 

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