Does social policy have an influence on Polish election?
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Publication date: 2020-06-08
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2002;4:151–165
The article discusses influence of the state social policy (and its shaping model) on the electoral behavior of the citizens from rural areas. The first two paragraphs describe preferences and activities of rural communities in the parliamentary election 2001 as compared with the results of earlier elections from 1989-2000. The Author points out the role of political formations that make class representation of the rural com munities’ interests. After the success of 1993 (very good result of Polish Peasant’s Party - PSL), these formations have lost in 1995-2000 their position, giving the priority to great electoral blocks (both center-left and center-right). Afterwards, their influence has increased once again in the last parliamentary elections. PSL and its competitor Samoobrona (Self-Defense) jointly gathered the support of over 3/5 farmers and more than one-third votes of all the Polish rural communities. Next parts of the article present the argument, that causes of Samoobrona’s success are - besides effective socio-technique and good political conditions - the fast economic and cultural changes that were painful for the sufficient part of rural communities and were connected with the shift of social policy and economy toward the more liberal model. Strengthening of social cleavages and distances as well as the fear of marginalization altogether caused the increase of criticism among farmers towards market economy, caused political mobilization and increased the demand for radical form of representation.