WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ President Aleksander Kwasniewski appointed a relatively unknown politician as defense minister Friday, rewarding a partner in the coalition government led by former Communists.

Stanislaw Dobrzanski, a member of the Peasant party, replaces an ally of former President Lech Walesa. Walesa, the former leader of the Solidarity trade union movement, was defeated in elections Nov. 19.

Dobrzanski, 46, said his main goal will be to lead Poland to a full membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

``The key to NATO lies here in the country,'' Dobrzanski said during a ceremony at the presidential palace.

Adjustments were needed in Poland's legal system, he said, including ensuring full civilian control over the military, a major requirement for future NATO membership.

Last week, the president, who supervises the defense, foreign and interior ministries, filled the two other posts vacated by Walesa loyalists. They left office with the outgoing president Dec. 22.

Initially, Kwasniewski considered Jerzy Milewski, a onetime anti-Communist opposition activist and a leading defense expert under Walesa, for the job.

Kwasniewski delayed the appointment for a week after the Peasants opposed Milewski's appointment.

``Today, all nominations in the government must glue this coalition together,'' Kwasniewski said.

Dobrzanski, a historian, was an activist of the former Communist-allied Peasant Youth Association. He later worked in the National Library and the ministry of culture. In 1993, he joined a government advisory council for national defense.