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Government Presses Solidarity to Join Broad Coalition

June 6, 1989

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The Communist government, demoralized by its crushing election defeat, again urged victorious Solidarity on Tuesday to join a governing coalition - a proposal the union has turned down.

″It is time for a broad post-election coalition, a kind of pact for economic reforms and democracy,″ government spokesman Zbyslaw Rykowski told a news conference. A Communist Party spokesman said Monday that Solidarity should show ″co-responsibility for the country.″

Politburo member Marian Orzechowski later told Polish radio, ″The voters’ verdict shows all political forces, that is my (Communist) Party, other coalition parties, groups and Solidarity must undertake responsibility for Poland’s future.″

But Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said earlier: ″We did not fight for chairs (in the Cabinet) for ourselves. We fought for a different system of wielding power in this country.″

In Sunday’s election, the independent union movement won an overwhelming majority in the new 100-member Senate and virtually all of the 161 seats available to the opposition in the 460-seat Sejm, the existing lower house.

But the most bitter defeat dealt to the Communists was with the ″national list.″ That list had 35 top party and government leaders running unopposed for the Sejm, but the candidates had to receive a least 50 percent of the vote.

It appeared that many ranking officials on the list, including Prime Minister Mieczyslaw F. Rakowski, would not receive 50 percent because millions of voters scratched their names from the list.

The victorious union said earlier that the Communists and their allies could have all of the 299 Sejm seats allotted to them under the April agreement that legalized Solidarity again and provided for the elections.

Rykowski did not say what kind of coalition the Communists envisioned and that question must wait until the new parliament convenes after June 18.

Orzechowski suggested various forms for such a coalition, ranging from some kind of parliamentary cooperation to Solidarity paritipation in the government.

″Results that we know are certainly bitter for my party and they must make her think very deeply, make deep reflections, draw all conclusions, no matter how deeply and how far they would go,″ Orzechowcki said.

Solidarity has declared that it would not seek more power than it was granted under the April accord.

One seat in the Sejm and seven in the Senate may have to be settled in runoff elections on June 18, said Anna Mizgajska, a member of a Solidarity committee tabulating results.

State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said in Washington: ″The U.S. regards Solidarity’s apparent victory as a victory for all Poles. Yesterday’s concession by the Polish Communist Party was statesmanlike and commendable.

″We welcome the reaffirmation of the party spokesman that the Polish government will continue democratic and economic reforms. We welcome Lech Walesa’s call for hard work by all sides to find solutions to the country’s economic and political problems.″

The Polish government spokesman said Rakowski will offer his resignation and that of his Cabinet in keeping with tradition when the new parliament is seated.

But there was no indication whether Rakowski, named prime minister in September, would actually step down or shuffle his cabinet.

The government said its poor showing was due to ″pent-up emotions″ and complained about unreasonable propaganda against the ″national list.″

Loss of the list could mean that such leading figures as Rakowski, Interior Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak and eight members of the 17-member Communist Party Politburo will not be seated in parliament.

Under law, the rejected officials can keep their regular government posts, but it would be a blow to authorities’ prestige and the legitimacy of one- party rule.

Many voters Sunday expressed pleasure at being able to cross off leaders responsible for the Dec. 13, 1981, martial-law crackdown that suppressed Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union.

Walesa said the union considered itself bound by the April 5 agreement in which it agreed to allow the government a full 65 percent of Sejm, or 299 seats.

″We have a lot of problems to solve in Poland. We have to respect the round-table agreements. It’s the platform from which we started,″ he said ″Let’s reject emotions and get on with solving problems.″

Authorities should be allowed to fill the vacant seats among the 299 in any manner they wish, Solidarity national spokesman Janusz Onyszkiewicz and union adviser Bronislaw Geremek told a news conference.

″We await what kind of proposals or solutions will be taken by the other side,″ Geremek said. One such solution might be a new election to fill the seats.

There have been no details on what Polish leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski meant when he suggested a coalition in a speech Friday night.

Any such deal could open the path to a sharing of power unprecedented in the Soviet bloc, where communist parties have maintained a monopoly on power since the late 1940s.

The next government will be formed by a prime minister named by the president, a new post created as part of the accord between Solidarity and the government.

The post was widely expected to go Jaruzelski due to the majority guaranteed the Communist Party and its allies in parliament.

But after Solidarity’s solid victory the opposition might propose a counter-candidate.

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