were in control of most of society's infrastructures. But the results of the elections of June disabused the communists of their illusions. Their party suffered a staggering defeat while the Solidarity-led opposition (see Solidarity Trade Union of Poland) proved that it did, indeed, represent the will of the majority of the people. Long-time communist allies, the United Peasant party and the Democratic party abandoned the alliance and joined the Solidarity deputies in parliament. The communists had to give up their control of the government if they did not want civil war.
The new prime minister was Tadeusz, Mazowieczki, one of the founders of Solidarity. His cabinet was composed mostly of members of Solidarity with a few additions from other parties. Although the communists were still in control of the ministries of the interior and defense, they no longer had the power to impose their will on their opponents. As a concession to the communists, General Wojciech Jaruzelski (see Jaruzelski, Wojciech) was named president of the republic.
The new government began its work promptly. In January 1990, a new economic system, based on a free-market mechanism, was established. The new government started Poland on the road to economic recovery. A policy of privatization was introduced. State monopolies were to be abolished and foreign investments encouraged. Efforts were started to replace communist party apparatchiki with officials who had not been compromised during the communist regime. At the same time, centuries-old Polish political traditions reasserted themselves. Political parties and other political organizations proliferated. The Mazowieczki government replaced the communist ministers of the interior and defense with its own choices.
In November 1990, new presidential elections were held. After a runoff, Lech Walesa (see Walesa, Lech) emerged victorious. But opposition to what was perceived as his authoritarian disposition soon emerged. Walesa's authority has been repeatedly challenged, and the new prime minister, Jan Olszewski, eventually became his rival for power. The Olszewski government was eventually replaced in the summer of 1992, and a new government under the prime ministership of Hanna Suchocka (see Suchocka, Hanna), the first woman prime minister in Poland, emerged.
Vinton Louisa, "Poland's Government Crisis: an End is in Sight?" Radio Free Europe Research Report. 1.30 ( July 24, 1992), pp. 15-25.
Popieluszko Murder. Father Jerzy Popieluszko was an outspoken supporter of the Solidarity trade union movement. (see Solidarity Trade Union of Poland) In 1980, he had been attached to the Saint Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, in a predominantly working-class neighborhood. Starting in February 1982, he celebrated mass on the last Sunday each month for Poland, during which he prayed with the parishioners for the release of political prisoners. Everyone knew, of course, that he meant especially Lech Walesa (see Walesa, Lech). In July 1984, the deputy prosecutor of Warsaw filed an indictment against Father Popieluszko for allegedly working against Poland's interests from the pulpit. At the same time, fearful of providing an excuse for
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Publication information: Book title: Dictionary of East European History since 1945. Contributors: Joseph Held - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 357.
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