Andrzej Lepper, a Polish pig farmer-turned-firebrand populist who was briefly deputy prime minister in a shaky government and who was later disgraced by bribery and sex scandals, died in what police suspected to be a suicide. He was 57.
Mr. Lepper’s body was found in his party office in Warsaw on Aug. 5. A Polish news agency said it had learned that he had hanged himself.
Mr. Lepper “symbolized the nationalist populism” of the 1990s and 2000s, a time of great social frustration and insecurity in the early years after communism, said Rafal Pankowski, a leading expert on Poland’s radical right.
“He was associated with crude rhetoric and sometimes violent protest,” he said.
Mr. Lepper rose to prominence during the 1990s, when many communist-era jobs had been lost, with unemployment stuck around 20 percent, and the country not yet enjoying the economic boom that came with European Union membership in 2004.
His outspoken manner won him the votes of the frustrated, and to his supporters he was a daring advocate for the poor. But he was always controversial.
At one point, Mr. Lepper told his supporters that should he come to power, he would order the central bank to print huge quantities of cash to distribute to the poor. He also called for convicted pedophiles to be castrated without painkillers.
He lambasted government leaders, sometimes calling them thieves, and organized protests by farmers who feared they would be swamped by outside competition with EU membership.
In the early 1990s he formed a movement that in 2000 became a full-fledged party, Self Defense. Mr. Lepper served as deputy prime minister and agriculture minister in 2006 and 2007 in a conservative nationalist government, which was led by then-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
The Kaczynski-led government collapsed because of political infighting and after Kaczynski dismissed Mr. Lepper over allegations that he had solicited bribes.
In the end, EU membership brought many economic benefits to Poland’s farmers and to the rest of society. Mr. Lepper’s career suffered greatly because of allegations of sex abuse and corruption. He was convicted last year of soliciting sex from a woman who worked for his party.