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PASSINGS / Mieczyslaw Rakowski

Last Communist premier of Poland

November 09, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Mieczyslaw Rakowski, 81, Poland's last communist-era party chairman and prime minister, died Friday after a long battle with cancer, Polish media and officials said in Warsaw.

"Today is a very sad day," Aleskander Kwasniewski, a former Communist who went on to serve two terms as president in democratic Poland, said. "He was a man of the left but also of Europe."

Rakowski was chairman of the communist Polish United Workers' Party from July 1989 until the party was dissolved at its January 1990 congress during the country's bloodless transition to democracy.

Rakowski then retired from public life.

He was the nation's last Communist prime minister, serving from 1988 to 1989.

He was born Dec. 1, 1926, in Kowalewko, Poland.

Rakowski was a historian and journalist before beginning his political career.

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