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Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland

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Template:Politics of Poland

Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Samoobrona Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SO or SRP) is a political party and trade union in Poland.

The party is led by Andrzej Lepper. After the 2001 elections, it has 53 out of 460 members of the Polish Sejm, and 2 members of the 100 in the Polish Senate; on a 10.2% share of the vote.

Samoobrona came in fourth in the 2004 European Parliament election, having received 10% of the votes; this gave it 6 of the 54 seats reserved for Poland in the European Parliament.

Contents

Political program

The party's views are nationalist, populist and isolationist. The party wants state-funded agriculture, an increase in government social programs, an end to repayments of the foreign debt and the use of financial reserves to obtain funding. The party is hostile towards foreign investments.

Poland's June 2003 referendum on membership of the European Union was an uncomfortable experience for Samoobrona. On the one hand, the party's traditional isolationism and euroscepticism led it to call officially for a "no" vote. On the other hand, most political observers believed (correctly) that the Polish people would vote in favour of membership, and as a populist party Samoobrona was unhappy about the likelihood of being on the losing side. In the end, the party fought a rather ambiguous campaign, with its posters carrying the slogan "the decision belongs to you".

History

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Lepper.jpg
Andrzej Lepper

The party first started in parliamentary elections in 1993, gaining 2.78% votes and failing to enter the Sejm. In 1995 Andrzej Lepper ran for president and gained 1.32% of the votes; in parliamentary elections in 1997, the party took 0.08%. In the year 2000 Samoobrona organized a campaign of blocking major roads in order to get media attention. Lepper gained 3.05% votes in the presidential elections.

The parliamentary elections in 2001 gave the party 53 chairs in the Sejm, with 10.5% support making it the third largest political force. Although officially a member of the opposition, Samoobrona backed the ruling post-communist Alliance of Democratic Left (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej) in a number of key votes, giving them the majority needed to stay in power. The party has also marked its presence in the Sejm by unconventional disruptive behavior. Among their numerous exploits there are such diverse incidents as using their own loudspeakers or claiming the largest opposition party Citizens' Platform met with members of the Taliban in Klewki (a small village near Olsztyn) to sell them anthrax.

Several Samoobrona members of parliament are subject to criminal investigations on charges ranging from forgery to banditism.

Leaders

Members of Polish Parliament (Sejm)

MP, constituency

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