Leszek Miller

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Leszek Miller [ˈlɛʂɛk ˈmillɛr] ( listen) (born July 3, 1946 in Żyrardów) is a Polish central-left-wing politician, leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (1999–2004), Prime Minister of the government of the Republic of Poland in 2001-2004.

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Childhood and youth

Leszek Miller comes from a poor, working-class family: His father was a tailor and his mother a needlewoman. His parents broke up when Leszek was six months old; his father, Florian, left the family and Leszek has never maintained any contact with him. His mother brought him up in a religious spirit – following her wish, he was even, for some time, an altar-boy. Due to hard life conditions, after graduation from vocational school, 17-year-old Leszek got a job in the Textile Linen Plant in Żyrardów, while continuing his education in the evenings at the Vocational Secondary School of Electric Power Engineering. He soon completed his military service on the ORP Bielik submarine.

In 1969, Miller married Aleksandra, three years his junior, in church. The Millers have a son, Leszek, and a granddaughter, Monika.

Career in the People’s Republic of Poland

Leszek Miller started his political career as an activist of the Socialist Youth Union, where he held the position of Chairman of the Plant Board, soon becoming a member of the Town Committee. After the military service, in 1969, he joined the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).

In 1973-1974, Leszek Miller was the Secretary of the PZPR Plant Committee. With granted Party’s recommendation, he started political sciences studies at the Party’s Higher School of Political Sciences (Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Społecznych), graduating in 1977. After graduation, Leszek Miller worked at the PZPR Central Committee, supervising the Group, and later on the Department of Youth, Physical Education and Tourism. In July 1986, Leszek Miller was elected the 1st Secretary of the PZPR Provincial Committee in Skierniewice. In December 1988, he returned to Warsaw, due to his promotion to the position of the Secretary of the PZPR Central Committee. As a representative of the government side, he took part in the session of the historic “Round Table”, where, together with Andrzej Celiński, he co-chaired the sub-team for youth issues (the only one that closed the session without signing the agreement). In 1989, he became member of the PZPR Political Bureau.

The Third Republic of Poland

After the PZPR was dissolved, Leszek Miller became a co-founder of the Social Democracy of the Polish Republic (till March 1993, he was Secretary General, then Deputy Chairman and, from December 1997, the Chairman of that party). In December 1999, at the Founding Congress of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), he was elected its Chairman, holding the function continuously till February 2004. In 1997-2001 he was the Chairman of the SLD’s caucus.

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