Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Revived Solidarity Takes Elections for Parliament Governing Communists Trail in Exit Polls

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Revived Solidarity Takes Elections for Parliament Governing Communists Trail in Exit Polls

Article excerpt

Leaders of a reborn Solidarity claimed a surprise victory over the governing ex-communists in parliamentary elections Sunday and said they would try to form a new coalition government.

In one of the most dramatic political recoveries in the former Soviet bloc, the group of parties tracing its roots to the trade union that ousted the communists in 1989 won at least 33 percent of the vote, according to exit polls for Polish television. A separate poll for the newspaper Rzeczpospolita gave Solidarity 34 percent.

The governing Democratic Leftist Alliance, the former communists, trailed with 27 percent in both the television and newspaper polls. The polls, which fluctuated marginally through the night, indicated a voter turnout of 55 percent. The final results are not expected until Wednesday. The voting edge would not give Solidarity an outright majority in the 460-seat Sejm but should allow it first chance to form a coalition with allied parties. If Solidarity manages to forge a parliamentary coalition, it would share power with President Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former communist who defeated Solidarity founder Lech Walesa as president in a tight election two years ago. The cohabitation is not likely to be as contentious as previous periods in Polish politics. Despite differences between Solidarity and the ex-communists over such issues as patronage and transfer of state-owned industry to private hands, both applaud NATO's decision to extend membership to Poland and agree Poland should join the European Union. …

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