Democratic Left Alliance

Democratic Left Alliance
Democratic Left Alliance
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej
Leader Leszek Miller (acting)
Founded 1991 (as coalition)
15 April 1999 (as unified party)
Headquarters ul. Rozbrat 44 A, 00-419 Warsaw
Youth wing Social Democratic Youth Federation
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament Group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Official colours Red
26 / 460
0 / 100
European Parliament
6 / 50
Politics of Poland
Political parties

Democratic Left Alliance (Polish: Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD) is a social-democratic political party in Poland. Formed in 1991 as a coalition of centre-left parties, it was formally established as a single party on 15 April 1999. It is currently the third largest opposition party in Poland.



Communist roots

Many SLD politicians have their roots in the communist regime. Most of the members who established the party in 1999 had previously been members of the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (SdRP) and the Social Democratic Union, the two parties that were formed out of the remains of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).


SdRP, SDU and some other socialist and social-democratic parties had formed the original Democratic Left Alliance as a centre-left coalition just prior to the nation's first free elections in 1991. In 1999 the coalition became a party, but lost some members.

At the time, the coalition's membership drew mostly from the former PZPR. An alliance between the SLD and the Polish People's Party ruled Poland in the years 1993–1997. However the coalition was defeated by the right-wing Solidarity Electoral Action in the 1997 election.

Electoral victory

SLD formed a coalition with Labour Union before the 2001 Polish election and won it overwhelmingly at last by capturing about 5.3 million votes, 42% of the whole and won 200 of 460 seats in the Sejm and 75 of 100 in the Senate. After the elections, the coalition was joined by the Polish People's Party (PSL) in forming a government and Leszek Miller became the Prime Minister. In March 2003 the PSL left the coalition.


By 2004 the support for SLD in the polls had dropped from about 30% to just below 10%, and several high ranking party members had been accused of taking part in high profile political scandals by the mainstream press (most notably the Rywin affair: Rywin-gate).

On 6 March 2004 Leszek Miller resigned as party leader and was replaced by Krzysztof Janik. On March 26 the Sejm speaker Marek Borowski, together with other high-ranking SLD officials, announced the creation of a new centre-left party, the Social Democratic Party of Poland. On the next day, Leszek Miller announced he would step down as Prime Minister on 2 May the day after Poland joined the European Union. Miller proceeded to do so.

Decline after Rywin-gate

In the 2004 European Parliament election, it only received 9% of the votes, giving it 5 of 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament, as part of the Party of European Socialists. In the later 2009 European election the Democratic Left Alliance-Labor Union joint ticket received 12% of the vote and 7 MEPs were elected as part of the newly-retitled Socialists & Democrats group.

Wojciech Olejniczak, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was elected the president of SLD on 29 May 2004, succeeded Józef Oleksy, who resigned from the post of Polish Prime Minister due to alleged connections to the KGB.

2005 - now

However the SLD could not avoid from suffering a huge defeat in the 2005 parliamentary election, SLD only won 11.3% of the vote. This gave the party 55 seats, barely a quarter of what it had had prior to the election. It had also lost all of its Senators. In late 2006 a centre-left political alliance called Left and Democrats was created, comprising SLD and smaller centre-left parties, Labor Union, the Social Democratic Party of Poland, and Democratic Party – The coalition won a disappointing 13% in the 2007 parliamentary election and was dissolved soon after in April 2008. On 31 May 2008, Olejniczak was replaced by Grzegorz Napieralski as SLD leader.

See also


External links

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