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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » June 11, 2008
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New Leader of the Left
June 11, 2008   
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The congress of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), Poland's leading leftist political group, produced a surprise May 31 when Grzegorz Napieralski, 34, until recently the party's secretary general, was elected the new SLD leader.

In a poll held on the eve of the congress, former leader Wojciech Olejniczak was well ahead of Napieralski but in the voting, Napieralski received the support of 231 delegates to Olejniczak's 210.

The new leader of the leftist parliamentary opposition has promised to fight for the SLD's return to a more prominent role in politics, opposing both the ruling center-right party, the Civic Platform, as well as the conservative Law and Justice party. Napieralski also promised the SLD would seek to limit the role of the Catholic Church and its leaders in political life, possibly leading to renegotiation of the concordat Poland signed in 1993 with the Vatican.

Olejniczak, reeling from the defeat, did not even secure a deputy chairman's position. The delegates elected four deputies of Napieralski, including two senior activists, former Senator Longin Pastusiak and former Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdziński, and two popular activists, Katarzyna Piekarska and Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz. A less-known activist, Marcin Nawrot, became the new secretary general.
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