The Guardian October 3, 2001


'Bye, 'bye Solidarity

Official results from the Polish general elections on Sunday September 
23, have confirmed a sweeping victory for the Democratic Left Alliance, or 
SLD. The Democratic Left won 41 per cent of the popular vote, but failed to 
win an absolute majority of seats in the important lower house of 
parliament.

The Democratic Left may have to find allies to form a coalition government 
or attempt to form a minority government.

Another aspect of the election was the complete rout of Solidarity. It 
failed to win a single seat in the new parliament. Solidarity had led the 
previous government. It won only a 4.4 per cent vote but needed 8 per cent 
to win seats in parliament.

The Peasant Party, a long-established farmers grouping, secured a 9.9 per 
cent vote.

Solidarity and its former leader, Lech Walesa, who was backed by the CIA 
and the Vatican and held up as a hero by the likes of reactionary British 
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, turned out to be incompetent and without 
any clear program for Poland's present troubles.

The destruction of many of the social gains made by the Polish people 
during the years of socialist construction in Poland is Solidarity's main 
"achievement".

Unemployment is now running at approximately 16 per cent and foreign 
investment, which is regarded as a saviour by governments that commit 
themselves to capitalism, has dropped considerably. Economic growth has 
stalled.

The Democratic Left seems to be much more akin to a social democratic party 
than to a communist party although it is led by "former communists" 
according to news reports. It has pledged to continue with economic 
"reforms" and intends to position Poland within the European Union and NATO 
policies that do not hold the solution to the economic and social problems 
of the Polish people.

About a quarter of the votes cast went to parties and groups opposed to 
Poland joining the European Union.

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