Polish Farmer-politician Takes Own Life

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WARSAW, Poland, Aug. 6 (UPI) — Andrzej Lepper, a populist Polish politician whose career ended in a sex scandal, was found hanged in his office in an apparent suicide.

Police discovered the body Friday, the Warsaw Business Journal reported. Lepper, a former pig farmer, deputy prime minister, minister of agriculture and leader of the Self-Defense Party, was 57.

Lepper became involved in politics after the fall of the Communist regime when many farmers were ruined by the hyperinflation of 1989-1992. He founded a hybrid between a political party and union, “Self Defense for the Republic of Poland.”

The movement was involved in strikes and blockades. In 2001 it became a serious political force when it won 10 percent of the seats in Parliament.

In 2005, Lepper, a leading Eurosceptic, came in third in the presidential race and his party won 11 percent of the seats in Parliament. But two years later Self Defense won only 2 percent of the vote and no longer had representation in Parliament.

With a stable economy, Lepper’s program was less attractive to voters. He also was brought down by allegations he demanded sexual favors from a subordinate.

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