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Solidarity Rejects Posts in Government

June 24, 1989|From Times Wire Services

WARSAW — Solidarity's 161 deputies and 99 senators in Poland's new Parliament refused Friday to propose a candidate for president or take jobs in the Communist government and pledged to remain a political opposition.

The senators and deputies led by Solidarity leader Lech Walesa also said they will vote "in line with the will of the voters" when a government candidate for president is proposed, almost certainly Polish leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Although there is little doubt that Jaruzelski will remain as leader, the party itself is torn by debate over its future after its stunning election defeat by Solidarity, according to the party's chief ideologist Marian Orzechowski.

Orzechowski said the party should take a majority decision on how far it should change after the defeat, including proposals to replace it with a totally new party.

Solidarity spokesman Janusz Onyszkiewicz said at a news conference that Solidarity senators and deputies will also remain a political opposition to the Communist government and will not take ministerial jobs.

Following Solidarity's landslide victory in parliamentary elections June 4 and June 18 Poles expected Walesa or at least another Solidarity candidate to run for president as a rival of Jaruzelski, whose popularity has been dwindling although he pushed for Poland's sweeping political reforms.

Walesa defended Jaruzelski, saying he has become a scapegoat for the people and is paying for the inefficient rule of his party during the past 44 years.

"Whether he deserves it or not, Jaruzelski is paying for it," Walesa said. All criticism has focused on him." Jaruzelski declared martial law in 1981 to halt a growing wave of unrest and Solidarity was banned in 1982. The trade union was re-legalized this year under a government-opposition agreement on economic and political reforms.

Pressured to Run

Walesa said he had been pressured to run for president but refused because the Solidarity-led opposition in Parliament will still be smaller than the Communist-led coalition under a formula that paved the way for Poland's freest election in more than 40 years.

The new Labor Party, with headquarters in Gdansk, called on the Communist Party, the allied Democratic and Peasants and the political opposition not to support Jaruzelski and proposed Walesa for the job of president.

Solidarity has 260 representatives in the new Parliament--99 senators in the 100-person upper house and 161 deputies or 35% of the seats--the maximum it could gain under the agreement with the government--in the 460-member of the Sejm or the lower house.

At the same time, the Communist-led government coalition has 299 seats in the Sejm and one senator.

Walesa said the job of president could not be won with such an alignment of forces in the Parliament.

"We are not prepared to achieve bigger things with 35% of seats in the Sejm," he said.

In his references to the party split, Orzechowski appeared to call for a vote on the dispute between reformers and conservatives by the Central Committee, the party's top policy-making body, when it meets Wednesday.

The session "must and will end with concrete, clear, ideological and political decisions," Orzechowski told the party daily Trybuna Ludu.

He said opinions were split between reformers favoring more democracy and conservatives who looked to the past and blamed the leadership for political incompetence or even betraying socialism.

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