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Pawlak, Waldemar (1959- ). Pawlak was born into a peasant family. He graduated from the automotive and agricultural machinery department of Warsaw Polytechnic Academy, and, in 1984, he took over the family farm of forty-two acres. He also joined the United Peasant party the following year. This party was the rural satellite of the Polish United Workers party. He became a member of the Rural Youth Union, a mass-organization sponsored by the communists. In the 1989 elections, Pawlak won one of the seventy-six seats preserved for his party. However, he enjoyed the endorsement of Rural Solidarity. He was one of the members of the United Peasant party who revolted against the satellite status of their organization and joined Solidarity (see Solidarity Trade Union of Poland). Their joint effort brought Tadeusz Mazowieczki to the prime ministership. In this struggle, the discredited leadership of the Peasant party was ousted. The party then changed its name to the Polish Peasant party-Renewal, and it was determined to recapture its precommunist past.
In May 1990, the Peasant party merged with the Polish Peasant party, Wilanow, the largest rural organization growing out of the opposition movement. The chairman of the new organization, Roman Bartoszcze, proved to be an erratic leader and the following year, he was ousted. He was charged with slowness in dealing with the members of the former rural nomenklatura, that is, the rural communist functionaries who had joined the Peasant party after 1989. Pawlak was elected to replace Bartoszcze as party leader.
Many in the party considered Pawlak's ascent the restoration of the old Peasant party apparatus. This was, however, not really the case. In the elections of 1991, the alliance of the two wings of the Peasant party dissolved. Pawlak's faction won forty- two seats in parliament (Sejm), and its representatives aggressively defended rural interests. They demanded that the state guarantee minimum purchase prices for agrarian goods, which was the continuation of some sort of subsidy for food producers, and provide more credit to farmers. They also demanded that restrictions be placed on food imports.
After the October 1991 elections, however, the party's stance became more conciliatory. In mid-December, Pawlak provided crucial support for the Olszewszki government during a debate where a no-confidence vote was taken. In exchange, the party received several administrative posts, although it refused to join the government Pawlak then formed a tentative and, as it turned out, unstable alliance with the