Polish People's Party

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The Polish People's Party (Polish: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL, also translated as Polish Peasant(s) Party) is an etatist and socially conservative political party in Poland. The party's name traces its tradition to an agrarian political party in Austro-Hungarian controlled Galician Poland, which sent MPs to the parliament in Vienna.



Before 1945

After Poland regained independence with the end of the World War I in 1918, the party merged with agrarian groups from territories previously occupied by Imperial Russia and formed the first PSL led by Wincenty Witos, becoming one of the most important political parties in the Second Polish Republic until it was removed by the Sanacja regime (see also People's Party).

During this time there were two parties using the term "PSL": Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Piast and Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Wyzwolenie. During World War II, PSL took part in forming the Polish government in exile.

Under communist regime

After the war the leader of PSL, Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, returned to Soviet occupied Poland, hoping to recreate the party structures and create anti-communist opposition. To prevent this, the Soviet-controlled communist government formed a puppet PSL-Piast and, after rigging an important referendum, forced the real PSL to unite with it, forming United People's Party — a satellite of the Communist Party. Mikolajczyk was soon forced to flee the country into political exile.

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